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Bernie Sanders says pro-Israel lobby has ‘a lot of money’ and ‘a lot of power’

(JTA) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the pro-Israel lobby has “a lot of money; they have a lot of power” in a television interview.

Sanders was responding to a question on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” from moderator Margaret Brennan, who asked the Vermont senator if he sees a “a political cost in taking on the pro-Israel lobby,” referring to his recent war of words with AIPAC.

Sanders, currently the front-runner in the Democratic race, told Brennan he is not anti-Israel and is concerned about the suffering of the Palestinian people.

“Look, I’m Jewish and I’m very proud of my Jewish heritage,” he said. “As a kid, I spent time in Israel. I am not anti-Israel. I will do everything I can to protect the independence and the security and the freedom of the Israeli people. “But what we need in this country is a foreign policy that not only protects Israel, but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well.

“I want to bring people together to finally achieve peace in that region.”

Sanders announced late last month that he would not attend the annual conference held by AIPAC because he is “concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”