In his interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Bernie Sanders reiterates that Israel’s response during the 2014 war in Gaza was “disproportionate.”

“Israel has a 100% — and no one will fight for that principle more strongly than I will — has the right to live in freedom, independently and in security without having to be subjected to terrorist attacks,” he says.

“But I think that we will not succeed to ever bring peace into that region unless we also treat the Palestinians with dignity and respect, and that is my view.”

Asked about criticism from Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US who termed his comments a “blood libel,” Sanders asks, “Who is Mr. Oren?”

Told who Oren is, Sanders says, “I see. And he’s attacking me for a statement I did not make.”

He says that he is determined to take a “more balanced position” on Israel and than other American politicians, rejecting the notion that he is more critical of Israel.

“Whether you’re Jewish or not Jewish, I would hope that every person in this country wants to see the misery of never-ending war and conflict ended in the Middle East,” he says. “It’s a difficult issue and good people have tried to deal with it for years.”

He says that while the US must support Israel, “you cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza right now: poverty, unemployment, their community has been decimated. You can’t ignore that fact. And you can’t just be only concerned about Israel’s needs. You have to be concerned about the needs of all of the people of the region.”

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