Nearly two years after Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, the war bitterly divided Sen. Bernie Sanders and front-runner Hillary Clinton during a contentious Thursday night Democratic presidential debate. Asked if he thought Israel’s attacks, which killed nearly 1,500 civilians and wounded 10,000 more, were disproportionate, Sanders said he believed they were.
When Clinton was asked the same question, she said, “I don’t know how you run a country when you are under constant threat,” referring to Israel.
“You evaded the answer,” Sanders, who is Jewish and worked on an Israeli kibbutz, or traditional collective farm, responded.
“In the long run if we are ever going to bring peace to that region, which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity,” he added to raucous applause.
The exchange was part of a heated two-hour debate in New York just five days before the state goes to the polls in critical primary contests.
The candidates laid bare their differences on a wide variety of issues ranging from Wall Street reform, to minimum wage policy and clean energy, oftentimes eliciting rounds of applause and chants from supporters.
The debate got so disorderly that at one point CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer had to cut in to remind the candidates that “if you’re both screaming at each other, the viewers won’t be able to hear either of you.”
– Read more: Sanders, Clinton Clash on Israel, Palestine in Debate – MEMO