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Democratic front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders made a distinction between being “for the Israeli people” and supporting the “right-wing racist governments that currently exist in Israel,” at a CNN Town Hall in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

When an audience member asked the question “How do U.S.-Israel relations look under your administration?” Sanders responded: “To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel.” His reply drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.

The event, featuring audience Q&As with Sanders as well as fellow contenders Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, was held on the eve of Wednesday’s presidential debate. Sanders enjoys a healthy lead in all of the polls ahead of the Nevada caucus on Saturday.

Tuesday was far from the first time Sanders has used the strongest language in the Democratic field to describe Israel’s governing coalition and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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