U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of running a “racist” government.

At a CNN event Monday, alongside other Democratic candidates, Sanders said, to applause, the “fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.”

“The United States gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israel. I just believe that the U.S. should deal with the Middle East on a level-playing-field basis,” he said.

“In other words, the goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing and, dare I say, racist government.”

An Israeli cabinet minister reacted Tuesday.

“We condemn statements like that made by Sanders, which was really strange,” Tzachi Hanegbi, a minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet told Israel’s Reshet 13 TV, according to Reuters.

“The Israeli government is not a racist government, nor does it include a single racist minister,” he said.

“To be right wing is not illegitimate, and it is odd that the Democratic Party allows one of its senior members to not respect the democratic choice of the State of Israel.”

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