Andrew Yang retracts saying all Palestinians have ‘right to return’ to Israel
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Andrew Yang retracts saying all Palestinians have ‘right to return’ to Israel

Democratic hopeful says query on topic posed by NY Times was answered by staffer who ‘misunderstood the question,’ clarifies Palestinians should have say in their own future

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks at a town hall in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, February 9, 2020. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images via JTA)
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks at a town hall in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, February 9, 2020. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images via JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In a recent statement to The New York Times, Andrew Yang expressed his support for the idea that Palestinian refugees and their descendants should be able to return to Israel. Then he took it back.

Last week, the newspaper published answers from the Democratic presidential hopefuls on a number of foreign policy issues, including Israel.

One of the questions concerned whether Palestinian refugees and their descendants should have a right to return to Israel. Elected officials across the US political spectrum have historically opposed the the idea. US President Donald Trump’s recently released peace plan does not offer Palestinians the right of return.

Yang, a long-shot candidate, answered “Yes” to the Times’ question without further explanation. The other candidates responded no or that the issue would have to be part of negotiations between the two sides. Pete Buttigieg did not answer.

But on Monday, Yang backtracked. The former tech executive, whose platform is based around creating a universal basic income, was asked on Twitter to clarify his answer by Eric Weinstein, a managing director at Thiel Capital.

“It was answered by a staffer who I think misunderstood the question,” Yang wrote. “I believe that Palestinians should have a say in their future but I do not believe that all refugees and descendants have the right to return to Israel. Appreciate your calling it out.”

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