Bernie Sanders, in video to left-wing Israeli party, says ‘occupation must end’


(JTA) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said “the occupation must end” in a video message to Israel’s left-wing opposition Meretz Party.

The five-minute video was set to be screened at a conference Sunday marking the end of the Six-Day War in 1967 and “50 years of Occupation.”

In opening the video, Sanders, a Jewish Independent who sought the Democratic presidential nomination, called Meretz, which currently has 5 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, “Israel’s most prominent political organization.” He added that the party stands “for many of the same values that progressives are fighting for here in the United States and throughout the world.”

“We are now in the 50th year of Israel’s occupation, an occupation which denies basic Palestinian rights while failing to deliver Israel real security,” said Sanders.

“I know so many of you agree with me when I say: this occupation must end. Peace, real peace, means security not only for every Israeli, but for every Palestinian. It means supporting self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for both peoples.”

Sanders called for “a politics of solidarity and a common humanity” and added that “brave people uniting around a common set of values with clear goals, can change a country, they can change the world, they can even change the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

As a young man, Sanders worked for several weeks on a kibbutz in Israel associated with Mapam, a precursor of Meretz.

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