Sanders in 1990: Wish U.S. Would Pressure Israel Harder on Palestinian Issue

In recently resurfaced interview with Haaretz, Democratic candidate also said that as a Jew, he feels embarrassed by Israel's arms trade with Latin American dictators.

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Bernie Sanders' 1990 interview to Haaretz's Yossi Mellman
Bernie Sanders' 1990 interview to Haaretz's Yossi MellmanCredit: Haaretz Archive
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders would have liked to see the U.S. pressure Israel harder on the Palestinian issue, he told Haaretz in a 1990 interview, three years before the Oslo Accords. 

In the interview, Sanders also said that as a Jew he feels embarrassed by Israel's arms trade with Latin American autocrats, adding that Israel shouldn't act as the American administration's mercenaries. 

The interview, which was found in the Haaretz archives and published on Thursday evening, made headlines worldwide as it seemed to finally answer the question of Sanders' time as a kibbutz volunteer.

Sanders says he once spent a few months on a kibbutz in Israel, but has continually declined to say which one. So far, all attempts – by a number of journalists as well as the merely curious – to discover which kibbutz hosted Sanders have failed.

However, in the newly found interview Sanders told former intelligence correspondent and analyst Yossi Melman that in 1963 he spent a number of months in Kibbutz Sha'ar Ha'amakim, in northern Israel, as a guest of the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement.

In the interview, published under the title "The First Socialist" during his first campaign to the senate, Sanders said he grew up "in a Jewish environment in Brooklyn, New York, in which the Holocaust and Israel were always important." The article says that after spending time on the kibbutz, Sanders  seems to have lost his connection to Israel, Zionism and Judaism, but the report fails to offer any further details, instead asking the then-hopeful senator why he chose to settle in Vermont.

Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 5, 2016.Credit: AP

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