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16th Feb 2024

US senator Bernie Sanders heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters at UCD event

Stephen Porzio


Sanders was speaking at the university as part of a Dalkey Book Festival event.

US senator Bernie Sanders took part in a talk at University College Dublin (UCD) on Thursday evening, during which he was heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters.

The Dalkey Book Festival event saw Sanders in conversation with Irish economist and writer David McWilliams in UCD’s O’Reilly Hall.

The pair were discussing the US senator’s book It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism, which was published last year.

A clip from the event circulating online sees Sanders – who has been a vocal critic of the US’ support of Israel’s government – say the following about the situation in Gaza:

“What is going on right now is absolutely outrageous, we’ve got to do everything that we can to end the slaughter of innocent men, women and children.

“What I have supported, and I will work as hard as I can to get the Biden administration to support, is [that the] UN try to bring about a ceasefire, a humanitarian pause or ceasefire in order to provide the desperately needed aid that the Gaza people need.

“When you get to the word, I get a little bit queasy… ‘genocide’, you use the word. You got to be careful about that word.”

At this point in the clip, Sanders is heckled by protesters in the crowd – one of whom accuses the senator of funding Zionism and of being a “genocide denier”.

US senator Bernie Sanders heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters at UCD event

The Irish Times reports that one of the protesters was evicted from the O’Reilly Hall event and that Sanders told the crowd: “Slogans are not solutions”.

Ahead of the UCD talk, the US senator spoke about Gaza to journalist Miriam O’Callaghan for RTÉ’s Prime Time.

He told the Irish outlet: “What’s going on [in Gaza], and its I don’t think reported adequately in the United States, is one of the great humanitarian disasters in modern history.

“You’re talking about 27,000 people already been killed. Almost 70,000 who have been injured. You’re talking about 1.8 million, 80% of the people, displaced. Can you imagine? That’s half the size of Ireland.

“And now what you’re looking at because of the restrictions on the border of food getting in, plus the bombardments, children by the hundreds of thousands are starving to death. Now who cannot be upset about this?

“So, my own view from day one is Hamas is a jihadist, disgusting, terrorist organisation that started this war by killing 1,200 innocent people [and] taking 200 people hostage. Israel has a right to defend itself, but it does not have a right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people.

“So I have been very upset that the United States Congress is prepared to give [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his right wing government another $10 billion in order to continue this war. That is to me beyond belief.

“Joe Biden is an old friend of mine. I’ve known him for many years. We’ve worked together on some, I think, very successful projects. But on this issue, he’s wrong. Very wrong.”

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