Andrew Yang Backtracks After Saying All Palestinians Should Have the Right to Return to Israel

The Democratic candidate says the original answer given to the New York Times was given by a staffer 'who I think misunderstood the question'

Josefin Dolsten
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Democratic presidential candidate businessman Andrew Yang arrives to speak at the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner in New Hampshire, February 8, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate businessman Andrew Yang arrives to speak at the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner in New Hampshire, February 8, 2020.Credit: Matt Rourke/AP
Josefin Dolsten

In a recent statement to The New York Times, Andrew Yang expressed his support for the idea that Palestinian refugees and their descendants should be able to return to Israel. Then he took it back.

Last week, the newspaper published answers from the Democratic presidential hopefuls on a number of foreign policy issues, including Israel.

One of the questions concerned whether Palestinian refugees and their descendants should have a right to return to Israel. Elected officials across the U.S. political spectrum have historically opposed the the idea. President Donald Trump’s recently released peace plan does not offer Palestinians the right of return.

Yang, a long-shot candidate, answered “Yes” to The Times question without further explanation. The other candidates responded no or that the issue would have to be part of negotiations between the two sides. Pete Buttigieg did not answer.

But on Monday, Yang backtracked. The former tech executive, whose platform is based around creating a universal basic income, was asked on Twitter to clarify his answer by Eric Weinstein, a managing director at Thiel Capital.

“It was answered by a staffer who I think misunderstood the question,” Yang wrote. “I believe that Palestinians should have a say in their future but I do not believe that all refugees and descendants have the right to return to Israel. Appreciate your calling it out.”

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