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Palestinians search for their belongings while rescue efforts continue to evacuate Palestinians from the rubble of the buildings destroyed by ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on May 14, 2021.

Palestinians search for their belongings while rescue efforts continue to evacuate Palestinians from the rubble of the buildings destroyed by ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on May 14, 2021. (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Sanders Says Biden Must Pick Ambassador Who Won't Blindly Back Right-Wing Israeli Government

"I encourage him to choose someone who can represent our country in an even-handed way, and who can engage not only with Israel but with the Palestinians as well."

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday called on President Joe Biden to select an ambassador to Israel who will not blindly kowtow to the nation's right-wing government, a demand that came as the Netanyahu regime intensified its deadly assault on the Gaza Strip without a shred of public criticism from the White House.

"As President Biden considers his choice for ambassador to Israel, I encourage him to choose someone who can represent our country in an even-handed way, and who can engage not only with Israel but with the Palestinians as well," the Vermont senator tweeted. "The role of the United States should be to bring the peoples of the region together, not simply to support a right-wing Israeli government."

"The role of the United States should be to bring the peoples of the region together, not simply to support a right-wing Israeli government."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Later this month, Biden is expected to unveil a slate of ambassadorship picks that will reportedly include disgraced former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been privately selected to represent the U.S. in Japan.

The Washington Post reported last month that former State Department official Thomas Nides—who is now the managing director and vice chairman of Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley—has "emerged as the likely candidate for ambassador to Israel."

Jonathan Shrier, a career diplomat, is currently the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Israel, an interim role filling the absence of a permanent ambassador. In a tweet Monday, Shrier condemned Hamas rocket fire without mentioning the preceding Israeli attack on Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which injured more than 300 people.

During a briefing this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki vowed that Biden "will nominate a qualified, experienced ambassador to Israel over the coming weeks."

"But in the meantime, we have great confidence in our team on the ground in Jerusalem led by... Jonathan Shrier, who enjoys open and regular access to a range of senior officials," Psaki said. "And Jonathan and his team are fully latched up with both our team here, the State Department, officials on the ground."

In recent days, the Biden administration has faced growing criticism from Sanders, other U.S. progressives, and international humanitarian groups for refusing to take concrete action to stop Israel's onslaught in Gaza, which has thus far killed at least 119 people and injured more than 830.

The deadly assault continued into Friday as Israel deployed brigades of ground troops to the border and shelled Gaza with artillery fire, compounding the devastation caused by the Israeli military's latest days-long bombing campaign.

"Now, as Israel lays siege to Palestinian homes, the solidarity and vigilance of the world have never been more urgent."
—Progressive International

According to the Associated Press, "Palestinians grabbed their children and belongings and fled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City on Friday as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their home."

"Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and four children, aged seven and under, were killed after an Israeli warplane reduced their four-story apartment building to rubble in the neighboring town of Beit Lahia," the outlet reported. "The building's owner and his wife were also killed."

In a statement Friday morning, the Progressive International said that "Israel's intentions are plain: to beat the Palestinian people into submission, and to clear them from their land forever."

"Let us be clear: there can be no equivalence between oppressor and oppressed, between colonizer and colonized," the organization said. "Israel is a nuclear-armed state, whose military is powered by $3.8 billion in annual grants from the U.S. government. The Palestinians, blockaded on all sides by walls and turrets, have few means to defend their rights in the face of Israel's machinery of war."

"Now, as Israel lays siege to Palestinian homes, the solidarity and vigilance of the world have never been more urgent," the statement continued. "We, members of the Progressive International, call on the world's progressive forces to march in their millions for Palestinian lives, Palestinian dignity, and Palestinian liberation. The time has come to end the Nakba, boycott the apartheid regime, divest from its war machine, and sanction the perpetrators of its crimes."


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Sanders Rips GOP for Remaining 'Loyal to the Big Lie,' Says Filibuster Must Be Abolished

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Julia Conley, staff writer ·