Former Democratic Texas Rep. and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke touched on the Israel-Palestine dispute Wednesday as he continues to unveil his policy platform.
O’Rourke called Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “ineffectual” but reserved much harsher criticism for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (RELATED: Linda Sarsour Defends Rep. Omar’s Israel Comments)
“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side,” O’Rourke said. “We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists, who — in the previous election — warned that the Arabs were coming to the polls.”
It is not clear who O’Rourke is referring to when he says “racists,” but Netanyahu has received criticism for his warm relationship with right-wing European leaders such as Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
Beto O’Rourke on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side.” pic.twitter.com/qOajge7GYV
— The Hill (@thehill) March 20, 2019
“And on the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader,” O’Rourke continued. “Mahmoud Abbas, who has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table either.”
O’Rourke’s comments come as the Democratic Party shifts left and puts what has historically been bipartisan support for Israel in doubt. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Slams The UN For Defending Hamas Over Israel: It’s ‘Absurd And Dishonest’)
Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has come under fire in recent weeks for repeatedly using anti-Semitic tropes to slam Israel. Both Omar and Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib support the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel, but have denied accusations of Anti-Semitism.
The conservative Netanyahu is facing a tough re-election race on April 9., after having been indicted on charges of bribery and fraud. Netanyahu has denied all allegations.