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Sanders backs Omar, fears attack is effort to shut down debate on Israel

3 Democrat presidential candidates have spoken out

Bernie Sanders and other Democrat presidential candidates have spoken out in support of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar following her comments on the Israel lobby.

Sanders expressed his fears, in a statement, that the house resolution brought against Omar could stifle criticism of Israel’s government policies, and he suspected she was being targeted to shut down debate.

He went on to say: “Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her concern for Omar’s welfare, saying that she felt this attention could “put her at risk”.

US: Omar’s comments trigger House vote on anti-Semitism

Candidate Kamala Harris called for an open and respectful debate on Middle East foreign policy.

She went on to say: “Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse.”

Sanders has previously spoken out on the subject of Israel, criticising Hillary Clinton during a Democratic primaries debate in 2016 for not mentioning the Palestinian people in her speech to AIPAC.

He also went on to say that Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 was “disproportionate” and that Palestinians should be treated with “respect and dignity” by both the US and Israel.

This comes as Jewish Americans have signed and published an open letter in support of Omar, and condemned the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled against her.

Congress criticises Ihlan Omar’s words, but remains silent about Israel’s violence

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