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


(JTA) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jewish former candidate for U.S. president, said “the occupation must end” in a video message to the Israeli left-wing opposition Meretz Party.

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

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In opening the video, Sanders 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, an independent politician.

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“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.”

He 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.”

Sanders, who is Jewish and worked on a kibbutz in Israel for several weeks as a young man, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton and lost, though he garnered a great many supporters.

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