Andrew Yang says he mourns for 'every Palestinian life taken before its time' after backlash over pro-Israel tweet

  • Yang released a statement expressing solidarity with Palestinians after backlash over a pro-Israel tweet.
  • He said he mourns for “every Palestinian life taken before its time as I do for every Israeli.”
  • Israeli airstrikes have killed dozens of Palestinians this week, as rockets from Gaza killed at least 5 Israelis.
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New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang on Wednesday issued a statement that expressed sorrow over Palestinians and Israelis who’ve died as a result of a recent flare up in violence, which came after he faced backlash over a tweet explicitly expressing support for Israel. 

Yang, a Democrat, said he spoke to volunteers on his campaign on Tuesday and many were “upset with my recent tweet expressing solidarity with the people of Israel in conjunction with the violence in the region this week that has claimed the lives of innocents and children on both sides.”

“They expressed to me that they follow and support me for a number of reasons, one is that I am a clear-headed person who follows facts. The other is that I am a. human being who stands for universal values of fellowship and goodwill,” Yang added. “They felt that. my tweet was overly simplistic in my treatment of a conflict that has a long and complex history full fo tragedies. And they felt it failed to acknowledge the pain and suffering on both sides. They were, of course, correct.”

He went on to say that he mourns for “every Palestinian life taken before its time as I do for every Israeli,” and thanked those who’ve spoken to him about the issue.

 

Yang’s initial tweet did not express any solidarity with Palestinians.

“I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists,” Yang said. “The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.”

He received praise from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas over the tweet, but it also generated. a fair amount of backlash — including from fellow Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York excoriated Yang for his “chest-thumping” statement.

As a result of Israeli airstrikes this week, 48 Palestians have been killed, including 14 children, per CNN. Meanwhile, militant groups in Gaza like Hamas have sent rockets toward Israeli, killing five in the process.

At the heart of the violence is Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories and treatment of Palestinians, which human rights groups have increasingly decried as a form of apartheid. But more immediately, planned evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem has exacerbated tensions.  

The UN on Wednesday warned that the recent violent could spiral into a “full-scale war.”

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