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Former Ambassador: Sanders Owes Israel Apology Over ‘Libelous’ Remarks

A former Israeli Ambassador to the United States has some harsh words for Senator Bernie Sanders, who dared express some sympathy and consideration for the people of Gaza, though he did exaggerate certain details.

“First of all, he should get his facts right. Secondly, he owes Israel an apology,” Michael Oren told The Times of Israel.

“He accused us of a blood libel. He accused us of bombing hospitals. He accused us of killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?” the former ambassador continued.

“He doesn’t mention the many thousands of Hamas rockets fired at us. He doesn’t mention the fact that Hamas hides behind civilians. He doesn’t mention the fact that we pulled out of Gaza in order to give the Palestinians a chance to experiment with statehood, and they turned it into an experiment with terror. He doesn’t mention any of that. That, to me, is libelous,” he said.

The Hill reports:

Oren was referring to Sanders’s remarks during an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board in which Sanders said Israel “could have been more discriminate” with its strikes to avoid civilian casualties. 
 
“I’m just telling you that 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,” Sanders said. “Does that sound right?”
 

“I don’t have it in my number … but I think it’s over 10,000,” Sanders continued. “My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe, and I don’t think I’m alone in believing, that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.”

 
While Sanders acknowledged that some of the rockets fired at Israel were launched from areas with Palestinian civilians, Oren ripped the Independent Vermont senator for focusing on Israel’s actions. He said Sanders conflated figures and failed to acknowledge that Hamas was hiding beneath a hospital it partially targeted.
 
“He doesn’t mention the many thousands of Hamas rockets fired at us. He doesn’t mention the fact that Hamas hides behind civilians. He doesn’t mention the fact that we pulled out of Gaza in order to give the Palestinians a chance to experiment with statehood, and they turned it into an experiment with terror. He doesn’t mention any of that. That, to me, is libelous,” Oren told the Times.
 
Sanders has also faced blowback from the Anti-Defamation League, which called on him to correct his statement about casualties in the Gaza conflict.

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