Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Bernie Sanders calls Israel's Netanyahu 'a racist'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has a harsh insult for a man he may soon have to work very closely with.

During Thursday's Democratic debate, 2020 presidential candidates faced questions about how they'd handle the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Sanders wasted no time in bringing up the fact that he'd be the first Jewish president — and that he views Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "a racist."

When asked how he'd respond to Israeli expansion of settlements, Sanders prefaced his answer by saying he "lived in Israel as a kid" and is "proudly Jewish." "Israel has the right to ... exist in peace in security," he said, "but we must be pro-Palestinian as well." Then Sanders turned to Netanyahu, pointing out that he was recently "indicted for bribery" and said he "in my view is a racist." He then spelled out his vision for a "level playing field" in the Middle East.

Netanyahu's leadership is currently in question as both he and his political rival failed to form coalition governments, but there's still a strong chance that Netanyahu would still be in power during a Sanders presidency.