Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last week blasted ernard Sanders’ claims that Israel has killed more than 10,000 innocent Palestinians in Gaza, but the Vermont senator on Sunday brushed off that criticism and didn’t even know who Mr. Oren is.
“Who is Mr. Oren?” Mr. Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union” after being asked about the criticism.
Mr. Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, said Mr. Sanders owes Israel an apology after the senator used the 10,000 figure in an interview with the New York Daily News last week.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 conflict, far fewer than the number Mr. Sanders suggested.
“First of all, he should get his facts right. Secondly, he owed Israel an apology,” Mr. Oren told the Times of Israel. “He accused us of blood libel. He accused us of bombing hospitals. He accused us of killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?”
After CNN’s Jake Tapper clarified who Mr. Oren is, Mr. Sanders stuck by his position that Israel overreacted.
“Was Israel’s response disproportionate? I think it was,” he said.
Mr. Sanders’ opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton, said Sunday that Israel has a right to defend itself in the face of constant attacks.
“When you are being attacked with rockets raining down on your people and your soldiers are under attack, you have to respond,” she told CNN.
Mr. Sanders has since acknowledged his 10,000 figure was incorrect.