Bernie Sanders reaffirms support for “Genocide Joe” after Biden declares “no red lines” in Israeli assault on Gaza

Less than a day after NBC aired a rare one-on-one interview with President Joe Biden in which the president unequivocally declared that the US would impose “no red lines” on the Israeli government as it continues its genocidal campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, top Biden surrogate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on Face the Nation to reaffirm his support.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and President Joe Biden, in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina. [AP Photo/Matt Rourke]

Sanders’ public affirmation of Biden’s flagging presidential campaign comes as the death toll in Gaza continues to climb. In what is surely an underestimate, the Palestinian Ministry of Health documented at least 31,045 people killed in Gaza as of March 10. Of the confirmed dead, about 12,500 are children, while another 8,400 are women. At least 72,654 people have been injured, and more than 8,000 people are missing.

Assuming the missing are dead, roughly 40,000 Palestinians, or nearly 2 percent of the entire population of Gaza, has been killed in roughly 155 days.

A Palestinian child, injured from the US-backed Israeli bombardment, sits in a hospital in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. [AP Photo/Hatem Ali]

In his interview with Margaret Brennan, Sanders expressed sorrow for the thousands killed by US supplied bombs and bullets, and increasingly by starvation due to the Israeli blockade. “Thirty thousand people, two-thirds of them ... women and children” had been killed, but, as he does in every public appearance, Sanders refused to characterize the Israeli government’s actions as a “genocide” or “genocidal.”

Sanders falsely presented the war as solely the product of the “right-wing extremist government under [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu.” In doing so, Sanders completely whitewashes 75 years of US support for Israel and the direct involvement of the Biden administration in arming, financing and politically supporting Netanyahu’s actions.

By presenting the current government in Israel as somehow an aberration from decades of joint Israel-US policy, Sanders postured as an opponent of the Israeli military and declared his opposition to providing another $10.1 billion to Netanyahu, though he indicated he would support the funding if Israel let in more aid trucks.

Sanders’ opposition to providing additional military funding to Israel is not across-the-board. As he wrote in a December 2023 press release, “Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. ... Therefore, I believe it is appropriate to support defensive systems that will protect Israeli civilians against incoming missile and rocket attacks...”

Sanders then reaffirmed his backing for the military campaign against Hamas after a temporary “ceasefire.”

“Hamas is dedicated to destroying Israel” said Sanders, adding, “I think at the end of the day, Hamas cannot be continuing to run Gaza,” though he added the caveat that the Netanyahu government would also have to go.

Turning to Biden’s recent interview, Brennan played a clip in which Jonathan Capehart asked Biden if it would be a “red line” if Israel invaded Rafah after Biden had “urged him not to.”

Biden replied, “It is a red line, but I’m never gonna leave Israel.” Biden said, “The defense of Israel is still critical. So there’s no red line.” He added that he would not “cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them.”

Asked by Brennan to comment on Biden’s “red line” statement, Sanders replied that an invasion in Rafah would be an “unmitigated disaster” but that the “bottom line is, though, Netanyahu has got to be told no more money for his war machine, unless there is humanitarian aid coming in to feed the people.” (emphasis added)

In other words, as long as there is some “humanitarian aid” coming in, Netanyahu, and his US-funded “war machine” can continue their campaign.

Finally, Brennan turned to the “Uncommitted” campaign and the large protest votes against Biden in the primary elections. “Given your moral objections,” Brennan asked the senator, “can you, in good conscience, ask your supporters to vote for Mr. Biden?”

Without hesitation, Sanders replied in the affirmative. “If you believe that climate change is real, you’ve got to vote for President Biden. ... If you think that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, you don’t give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the one percent ... If you believe in democracy ... you have to vote for Biden.”

Joseph Kishore, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for president issued a statement on X/Twitter responding to Sanders’ statement.

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“Sanders,” Kishore wrote, “is insisting that young people and workers outraged by genocide in Gaza should vote for the person who is responsible for it. The claim that a government and a party that is supporting the genocide is going to defend democracy and oppose inequality is a lie.”

“The Democratic Party is a party of Wall Street and the military-intelligence agencies,” Kishore continued. “The Biden administration’s support for the genocide in Gaza is part of an expanding global war, including the escalation of the US-NATO war against Russia, which risks nuclear annihilation.

“Millions of workers and young people voted for Sanders in 2016 and 2020 because he claimed to be leading a ‘political revolution’ against the ‘billionaire class.’ His current role as chief campaigner for Biden exposes him as the ‘left wing’ of genocide and imperialism. It exposes as well the futility of all efforts to ‘pressure’ the Democratic Party.”

“The Democrats and Republicans represent two intersecting paths to barbarism,” Kishore said, concluding, “The real alternative for the working class and youth is the fight for international socialism. In this election campaign, Jerry White and I are fighting to build a socialist leadership in the working class.”

Sanders’ boosting of Biden should dispel any lingering doubts workers and youth may have about the political role the senator from Vermont occupies in US politics. Far from the vanguard of a “political revolution,” Sanders’ unwavering support for Biden’s election campaign, even as Israel continues to starve and massacre Palestinians after over 155 days of ethnic cleansing, exposes him as a booster of the Democratic Party and apologist for genocide.