by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday that progressives’ call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict is unrealistic, declaring “Hamas has got to go.”
After Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, far-left lawmakers in Congress have demanded Israel halt its military retaliation and agree to a cease-fire. President Biden has attempted to placate this wing of his party by seeking a humanitarian “pause” in the war, to allow aid to get to Gaza civilians caught in the crossfire.
“I don’t know how you can have a permanent cease-fire with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the state of Israel,” Sanders, the independent Vermont senator who caucuses with Democrats and is one of the Senate’s most liberal members, countered during an appearance on CNN Sunday. “I think what the Arab countries in the region understand is that Hamas has got to go.”
Biden has faced mounting pressure from progressive activists and the “Squad” to urge Israel to lay down its arms. Protesters have mobilized in cities across the country for weeks to “free Gaza.” Last month, pro-Palestinian sympathizers congregated both around and inside the Cannon House Office Building to call for an Israeli cease-fire, leading to an estimated 300 arrests of demonstrators.
During that rally, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) again blamed Israel for a hospital blast that subsequent evidence showed was likely committed by a misfired rocket from Gaza. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also insisted that Biden should pressure Israel into accepting a cease-fire.
Israel recently moved into Gaza for a ground operation, marking the second phase of its war strategy after Hamas perpetrated the most brutal massacre against Jews since the Holocaust, not only killing 1,400 but torturing, raping, maiming, and kidnapping many others.