Iowa (QNN)- In one of the sharpest criticism of Israel, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Sunday described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “racist” whose outreach to far-right interests as he seeks to hang onto political power has seriously damaged the chances of peace in the Middle East.
“That relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister, who is racist, as he warns about Arabs coming to the polls; who wants to defy any prospect for peace as he threatens to annex the West Bank; and who has sided with a far-right, racist party in order to maintain his hold on power,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke’s comments joined a larger debate taking place in the US and Democratic Party about Israel and Netanyahu, whom President Donald Trump hosted in the White House just weeks before Israel is set to hold decisive elections in which Netanyahu is up for re-election.
A cohort of young progressive lawmakers have been openly critical of the Israeli government, in a break from a tradition of blanket support from both sides of the US political divide.
Donald Trump, who has expressed support for Netanyahu during the election campaign, has sought to make Israel a partisan issue. He hopes to appeal to Jewish voters in the US who have traditionally backed Democrats by painting his rivals as unsupportive of Israel.