Summary

Bernard Sanders, who is Jewish, was born in 1941 and is currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Vermont. Senator Sanders was reelected in the U.S. Senate in 2018 and his seat will be up for election again in 2024.

The longest-serving independent in congressional history, Sanders was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and has caucused with the Democratic Party since. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate after 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives. Prior to that, he served for four terms as the Mayor of Burlington.

Senator Sanders is currently the Ranking Member on the Budget Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Below is Senator Sanders’ voting record and public positions on issues important to the Jewish community. 

Senator Sanders supported the Iran Deal, as he argued that the alternative was to go to war with Iran and that should be the last option. Recently he suggested that he would reenter the Iran deal if Iran abides by it and he is elected President.

Senator Sanders supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  He was against the move of the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem believing that it would undermine the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. 

Senator Sanders has declared that he does not support the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israel, but has been reluctant to support legislation that counter it.

Senator Sanders expressed support for the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which claims that Israel’s settlements have no legal validity, and applauded the decision of President Obama’s administration to not veto it.

In 2019, he was one the Democrats that voted against the Strengthening America’s Middle East Security Act which, among other things strengthens Israel’s security, and allows a state or local government to adopt measures to divest its assets from entities that boycott Israel.

Recently, Senator Sanders called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition a “right-wing, dare I say, racist government” and that “Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.” Senator Sanders stated that he “is not anti-Israel”, but that he believes “the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis”. 

Senator Sanders is an original cosponsor of Senate Resolution 234 – introduced in Congress on June 5th, 2019 – which reaffirms the commitment of the U.S. to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and argues that Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank would undermine peace and Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. 

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