With the presidential race heating up ahead of the New York primary, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has joined right-wing proponents of Israeli violence in attacking Bernie Sanders for his criticism of Israel’s 2014 military assault on Gaza.
In an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board last week, Sanders qualified Israel’s attack on Gaza as “indiscriminate” and emphasized that “a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed,” prompting feverish denunciations from Israeli government officials and their supporters.
Sanders was right. According to the UN, 2,251 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, 1,462 of whom were civilians. Another 11,000 Palestinians, including 3,436 children, were injured, nearly 10 percent of them suffering permanent disabilities.
But he went on to confuse the number of civilian deaths in Gaza with the number of wounded, saying, “I happen to believe … anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?”
The Daily News corrected Sanders, who accepted the casualty figures and everyone moved on. Well, everyone except for hardline Zionists. And Hillary Clinton.
Hillary attacks the dead
According to Clinton insiders, the former secretary of state had planned to go after Sanders’ Israel-related remarks to court New York’s Jewish voters, who make up a significant 16 to 19 percent of New York’s Democratic primary electorate.
On Sunday morning, Clinton did just that.
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Clinton disputed Sanders’ description of Israel’s assault on Gaza as “disproportionate.” Clinton argued that “Hamas provokes Israel.”
On top of blaming Palestinians for Israel’s deadly violence, Clinton called into question the innocence of dead Palestinian civilians, arguing, “They often pretend to have people in civilian garb, acting as though they are civilians, who are Hamas fighters.”
Maybe Clinton was referring to the 551 children Israel killed in Gaza, 68 percent of whom were under the age of 12. Or maybe she was talking about the 844 Palestinians that the Associated Press determined were killed in Israeli airstrikes on residential homes, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.
Or perhaps she meant the 140 Palestinian families that had three or more members killed by Israel that summer.
This isn’t the first time Clinton has shamelessly attacked dead Palestinians for political gain.
In the midst of Israel’s 51-day assault, Clinton accused Hamas of “stage-managing” media coverage of the slaughter by inviting Western journalists to Gaza. She also recycled Israel’s excuses for its attacks on UN schools by alleging – without providing evidence – that Hamas was firing rockets from their grounds.
In an earlier interview with Sanders, Tapper expressed bewilderment “that the first Jew in American history to win a delegate, much less a primary” had openly criticized Israel.
“Usually in American politics, everyone just supports Israel whatever Israel wants to do, but you are taking a more critical position,” said Tapper.
Sanders interjected, “I’m taking a more balanced position.”
“Whether you’re Jewish or not Jewish, I would hope that every person in this country wants to see the misery of never-ending war and conflict ended in the Middle East,” said Sanders. “Of course the United States supports Israel, but you cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza right now: poverty, unemployment, their community has been decimated.”
Clinton was capitalizing on the chorus of Zionist outrage provoked by the Daily News interview.
American-born Israeli lawmaker Michael Oren accused Sanders of advancing a “blood libel” against Israel and called on American Jews to demand an apology. Read more