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‘The world is upside down’: Bernie Sanders criticized after fellow Vermont senator calls for ceasefire in Gaza

Sanders has called for an extended humanitarian pause, but not a ceasefire


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Nov 29, 2023

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), took fire online after the junior senator from Vermont, Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), put out a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Bernie Sanders is now the lone senator from Vermont, NOT calling for a ceasefire,” reacted @RamiJarrah on X.

Welch, who took office in 2023, put out a call for an indefinite ceasefire in Gaza on Tuesday after a temporary six-day pause in the fighting was negotiated last week and began on Friday.

“So far, the ceasefire has been largely successful,” Welch said in a statement. “Thanks to the active engagement of Qatar and Egypt, and the personal involvement of President Biden and the Netanyahu government, hostages have been released and the killing has stopped.”

Since the ceasefire began, Hamas has released 80 hostages it took from Israel in an attack on the country on Oct. 7. Israel exchanged the hostages for 180 Palestinians held in Israeli custody.

Welch’s statement made him the fourth senator to call for an end to the fighting in the war, which has caused over 14,000 deaths in the Gaza Strip, according to the Gazan Health Ministry. 

Sanders has called for a “significant, extended humanitarian pause,” but stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.

Why hasn’t Bernie Sanders called for a ceasefire?

In a statement on Nov. 16, Sanders said that he was “not quite sure how you negotiate a ceasefire with a terrorist organization that is dedicated to perpetual war.”

“The issue now is to act decisively to end the indiscriminate bombing by Israel, which has caused the deaths of an estimated 12,000 people, and secure a significant humanitarian pause so that the massive humanitarian aid that is needed—food, water, medicine, and fuel—can get into Gaza and save lives,” he also said.

Those statements fell far short of what his critics from the left, who have pushed for an immediate ceasefire, want from him.

At the end of October, over 400 former Sanders staffers wrote an open letter to him asking for a “Ceasefire Now’ resolution to be introduced in the Senate.

In his Nov. 16 statement, Sanders seemed to acknowledge those calls but disagreed with them.

“I wish there was a simple solution to this conflict. There isn’t. Non-binding resolutions that Congress won’t pass can’t do that,” Sanders said.

That position has led left-wing, anti-imperialist critics of the senator to disavow his handling of the situation, with Welch’s call for a ceasefire just the latest example of Sanders being left behind.

“Something something die a hero something something become the villain,” wrote @TannanJB on X.

“I am actually shocked it’s Bernie who isnt the first to call for it,” wrote another user. “What happened to him?”

Others said that his position hadn’t changed much and that his supporters just hadn’t been aware of what he believed before.

“Yall ready for the Bernie was never that good conversation now?” asked one user.

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*First Published: Nov 29, 2023, 2:44 pm CST