Pete Buttigieg: I Will Cut Funds to Israel If It Annexes Part of the West Bank

Pete Buttigieg: I Will Cut Funds to Israel If It Annexes Part of the West Bank by Joel B Pollack for Breitbart

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg promised, if elected president, to cut U.S. aid to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed through on an election promise to annex parts of Judea and Samara — the “West Bank.”

Buttigieg, delivering what was billed as his first major address on foreign policy at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, claimed that President Donald Trump had made the United States into a version of Russia. He also slammed Trump for his negotiations on denuclearization with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — while attacking Trump for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. And he said that the Trump administration had neglected white supremacist terror in its focus on radical Islamic terror.

But Buttigieg — once regarded as a rare pro-Israel voice — blasted Israel as well:

The closer an ally, the more important it is that we speak truth to them. The security and survival of the democratic state of Israel has been, and continues to be, a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy, and is very much in our national interest. Which is why neither American nor Israeli leaders should play personal politics with the security of Israel and its neighbors.

[Applause]

Just as an American patriot may oppose the policies of an American president, a supporter of Israel may also oppose the policies of the Israeli right-wing government.

[Loud applause]

Especially when we see increasingly disturbing signs that the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace. The suffering of the Palestinian people, especially the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, has many authors — from the extremism of Hamas, and the inefficacy of the Palestinian Authority, to the indifference of the international community, and, yes, the policies of the current Israeli government. And now Gaza has become a breeding ground for the kind of extremism that only exacerbates threats to Israel and the region. Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families. As Israel’s most powerful and most reliable ally, the United States has the opportunity to shape a more constructive path with the tough and honest guidance that friendship and fairness require. The current state of affairs cannot endure. The pressure of history and the mathematics of demography, mean that well before 2054, Israelis and Palestinians will have come to see either peace or catastrophe. A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward, and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively.

[Applause]

And if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.

[Loud applause]

Professional critics of Israel were delighted by Buttigieg’s comments, including J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami:

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