Bernie Sanders introduces resolution blocking $735m weapons sale to Israel

Progressive senator says US needs to examine if sale of weapons is ‘simply fueling conflict’

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution blocking a $735m US weapons sale to Israel on Thursday, mirroring a symbolic action by the House of Representatives in response to conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas leaders.

“I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” the progressive senator said on Twitter.

He added: “We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict.”

Sanders’ language mirrored that of a separate resolution he introduced on Wednesday, which emphasized the importance of Israeli and Palestinian lives. “Whereas every Palestinian life matters; and whereas every Israeli life matters:now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Senate ... urges an immediate ceasefire,” Sanders’ resolution said.

The resolution was in response to a separate measure from the Republican senator Rick Scott affirming US support for Israel.

The current conflict in the Middle East has opened splits in the Democratic party between its progressive wing and its centrists, including the White House. Joe Biden’s administration has approved the potential sale of $735m in weapons to Israel this year, and sent it to Congress on 5 May for formal review.

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate foreign relations and House foreign affairs committees all backed the sale during an informal review before 5 May. And lawmakers predicted efforts to stop the sale would fail, given traditionally strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for arms sales to Israel.

Senator Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of Senate foreign relations, said he would oppose the Sanders resolution. He also said he was not certain that Sanders had filed it within a required 15-day period.

“I can’t imagine that passing,” Senator Jim Risch, the committee’s top Republican, told reporters.

The clashes have prompted calls from some lawmakers for a more concerted US effort to stop the violence, including Israeli airstrikes that have killed dozens of civilians, most of them Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Sanders’ resolution follows a measure introduced by the US Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib, which has at least six other co-sponsors, including some of the most left-leaning Democrats in the House.

Contributor

Joan E Greveand agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bernie Sanders: Trump tax cuts a barely disguised reward for billionaire donors
The Vermont senator tells the Guardian why the tax bill – which could become law next week – is the result of 40 years’ scheming by the Kochs and others

Ed Pilkington in Washington

16, Dec, 2017 @11:00 AM

Article image
Bernie Sanders unveils universal healthcare bill: 'We will win this struggle'
Senator’s ‘Medicare for All’ bill, which is gaining steam among Democrats, would cover 323 million Americans under single system

Lauren Gambino in Washington

13, Sep, 2017 @10:10 PM

Article image
Bernie in Trumpworld: Sanders visits ‘imperative if democracy is to survive’
Vermont senator tells New York Times $2tn or $3tn will not be enough for new infrastructure package

Martin Pengelly in Washington

12, Jul, 2021 @11:19 AM

Article image
Bernie Sanders pushes universal health plan in wake of Republican repeal failure
Sanders, a long-time advocate of the single-payer system, to build support for ‘Medicare for All’ proposal before unveiling bill next month

Lauren Gambino in Washington

02, Aug, 2017 @12:37 PM

Article image
Bernie Sanders introduces legislation to end federal ban on marijuana
Senator’s proposal would give states authority to legalize the drug without fear of federal crackdown, winning Sanders applause from activists

Lauren Gambino in New York

04, Nov, 2015 @11:21 PM

Article image
Bernie Sanders rallies opposition to Republican healthcare reform plan
Sanders talked to the Guardian while on a tour to speak out unsparingly against the bill: ‘the most anti-working class legislation in the modern history of’ the US

Lauren Gambino in Charleston, West Virginia

26, Jun, 2017 @1:26 PM

Article image
Biden speaks on the Israel-Gaza ceasefire saying it will begin in less than two hours - as it happened
‘I send my condolences to all families, Israeli and Palestinian,’ the president said – follow all the latest politics news

Maanvi Singh in Oakland (now) and Joan E Greve (earlier)

20, May, 2021 @11:56 PM

Article image
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton turn Brooklyn debate into slugfest
Heated discussion gets personal as the pair question each other’s judgment amid attempts to draw contrasts over gun control, banking, minimum wage and Israel

Ed Pilkington and Lauren Gambino in New York

15, Apr, 2016 @6:20 AM

Article image
Could foreign policy be Bernie Sanders' undoing? Yes – if you believe the polls
Sanders appeared out of his depth when pressed in Thursday’s debate on foreign policy issues that polls suggest Americans are concerned about once more

Mona Chalabi Guardian US date editor

05, Feb, 2016 @6:08 PM

Article image
Paul outlines Obamacare replacement as Sanders rallies Democratic supporters
Republican senator refuses to say if Kentuckians will lose insurance while Sanders says ‘Republicans have had six years. They got nothing’

Martin Pengelly

15, Jan, 2017 @6:30 PM