Washington — Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Sunday that Israel is “losing the war” of worldwide public opinion as it seeks to eradicate Hamas in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told “Face the Nation” that Israel has the “right to defend itself” against Hamas, but it “cannot go to war against the Palestinian people and cause the horrific damage to human life that we are seeing right now.” 

“Israel is losing the war in terms of how the world is looking at this situation,” he said. 

Citing the increasing death toll and displacement of civilians, Sanders said the U.S. “has got to put all of the pressure that it can to tell [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to stop this disastrous military approach.” 

“It is a humanitarian disaster,” Sanders said. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders on “Face the Nation,” Dec. 10, 2023.

CBS News

Secretary of State Blinken said Thursday there’s a “gap” between Israel’s intent to protect civilians in Gaza and the “actual results.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned earlier this month that Israel risked “strategic defeat” in Gaza if it does not do more to protect Palestinian civilians. 

But the Biden administration has repeatedly called on Congress to approve more aid to Israel since the Oct. 7 attack. The Senate voted Wednesday not to advance a bill that would provide billions in dollars in emergency spending that includes aid for Israel and Ukraine. Sanders joined Republicans, who want more border security and immigration measures included in the bill, in voting against it.  

“I think that it would be irresponsible for the United States to give Netanyahu another $10 billion to continue to wage this awful war,” he said, adding that he strongly supports Ukraine aid. “What the Congress has got to do is make it clear to Netanyahu that we’re not going to simply give them a blank check to kill women and children in Palestine.” 

Sanders has not called for a permanent cease-fire, though he said he supports a humanitarian pause in the fighting that would allow for the release of more hostages held by Hamas and for the U.N. to deliver aid. 

“I don’t know how you can have a permanent cease-fire with Hamas, who has said before Oct. 7 and after Oct. 7, that they want to destroy Israel, they want a permanent war. I don’t know how you have a permanent cease-fire with an attitude like that,” he said. 

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