(JTA) — Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Israel’s use of force on the border with Gaza in a tweet.
“The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response,” Sanders, who was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and the first Jewish presidential candidate to win nominating contests in a major party, tweeted on Saturday. The tweet garnered 26,000 likes.
He also tweeted: “Meanwhile, the situation in Gaza remains a humanitarian disaster. The U.S. must play a more positive role in ending the Gaza blockade and helping Palestinians and Israelis build a future that works for all.”
Sanders on Sunday in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN doubled down on his criticism, saying that Israeli troops overreacted against the Gazan protesters.
“From what my understanding is, you have tens and tens of thousands of people who are engaged in a nonviolent protest. I believe now 15 or 20 people, Palestinians, have been killed and many, many others have been wounded. So I think it’s a difficult situation, but my assessment is that Israel overreacted on that,” he said.
Last month, Sanders helped launch what purports to be a global peace movement on the anniversary of the Iraq War, which he said precipitated much of the chaos in the Middle East.
“Had it not been for the Iraq War, ISIS would almost certainly not exist,” Sanders said in the Global Call for Peace. “It undermined American diplomatic efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”