2020-02-14 04:16:33 UTC
Ehud Olmert: Bernie Sanders ‘will not play the game’ on the traditional U.S.-Israel alliance
Jacob Kornbluh February 12, 2020
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested on Wednesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), fresh off his New Hampshire win on Tuesday, is the only Democratic presidential candidate who if elected would buck tradition on issues regarding U.S.-Israel relations.
Changing the game: In conversation with Ethan Bronner, a senior editor at Bloomberg, at the Council for Foreign Relations in New York, Olmert said, “I think that Bernie Sanders will not play the game” when it comes to the tone of the U.S.-Israel relationship and longstanding U.S. policies. “In this respect,” he said, “Bernie Sanders reminds me of [President Donald] Trump, where he’s not subject to any of the protocols which are common in our tradition. He can say anything and everything regardless of what may be the reaction of some in the Democratic Party.”
Maintaining U.S. support for Israel: The other candidates, Olmert posited, wouldn’t veer away from the traditional relationship, in particular if there’s a change in government in Israel this year. The former prime minister pointed to former President Barack Obama, who had a tense relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — “and despite the provocations of the Israeli government against him and his secretaries of state” — increased military support for Israel. “America, only one time in eight years abstained [during an Israel-related vote] at the U.N., and this was in the last month of Obama’s presidency,” he explained, referencing the December 2016 U.N. Security Council vote that criticized Israeli settlements (UNSC 2334). “So I doubt that if any other Democratic candidate — such as Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg, who may rise to be the [dark] horse in this race — wins, that there will be a difference. They will all disagree with some policies of Israel, but they will be very careful” not to change the nature of this relationship.