In 2016 President Obama signed the Memorandum of Understanding to give $38 billion in military aid to Israel for the next ten years, allowing Israel to boost and maintain its missile defense system. It would, the Obama administration noted, both "enhance Israel’s security and strengthen our bilateral relationship."
Under the terms of the MOU, the United States will set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next ten years, a significant increase enabling Israel to acquire additional advanced military capabilities from the United States that will, over time, enhance Israel’s security and strengthen our bilateral relationship. (U.S. Embassy in Israel)
But presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested on Monday at the J Street Conference that if he was the commander in chief, he'd make sure Israel meets some demands before the U.S. continues to honor the MOU. He began by noting how proud he would be to be the first Jewish president and acknowledged Israel's right to exist, but qualified it by noting Israel has to treat Palestinians better.
“I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion,” he said of the MOU. “It is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government, or for that matter to any government at all. We have a right to demand respect for human rights and democracy.”
Sanders added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government "has been racist."
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Nikki Haley, as you can imagine, had some words.
Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself. He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal. Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong?— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) October 29, 2019
Haley remains one of Israel's strongest defenders at the UN. In her tenure, she berated her fellow members for their biased, anti-Israel resolutions and promised them that the U.S. would not forget how they turned their back on America's Middle East ally.