Speaking at a press gaggle following a town hall event at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA on Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate and former congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas) called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist.”
“The U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the most important relationships that we have on the planet,” O’Rourke told reporters following a town hall event on Sunday. “And that relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist as he warns about Arabs coming to the polls, who wants to defy any prospect for peace as he threatens to annex the West Bank and who has sided with a far-right racist party in order to maintain his hold on power.”
O’Rourke continued “Now, I don’t think that Benjamin Netanyahu represents the true will of the Israeli people, or the best interests of the U.S.-Israel relationship, or any path to peace for the people of the Palestinian authority, the Gaza strip, and the state of Israel.”
According to The Washington Post, while at the town hall event yesterday, O’Rourke addressed comments regarding the upcoming Israeli-elections and the possible annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Texas Democrat suggested Prime Minister Netanyahu is “somebody who in a previous election warned that Arabs were coming to the polls; it’s racism” he and warned that Netanyahu “no longer subscribes to a two state solution and has vowed to annex the West Bank, which will make peace in the long term impossible.” O’Rourke also criticized Netanyahu for joining forces “with far-right parties who are inherently racist in their speech in the way they want to treat their fellow human beings in that part of the world.
“You also have on the other side of the line, in the Palestinian authority someone who has not also been faithful in pursuing peace, in the rhetoric that he uses, encourages, Mahmoud Abbas, the inability to bring his side to the table, to negotiate in good faith,” O’Rourke said. “If we truly care about the safety and the human dignity of every person in that region, Israeli or Palestinian, then we have to have a two state solution.”