Beto O'Rourke calling Israel PM Netanyahu racist a mistake: Joe Lieberman

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Sunday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist,” but Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat from Connecticut who became an independent, said although Netanyahu is “opinionated” and “controversial,” he’s not intolerant.

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“This is an ally in the midst of an election,” he told FOX Business’ Ashley Webster during an appearance on “Varney & Co.” on Monday. “What I would say, and I know Prime Minister Netanyahu a long time, I agree with him a lot of the time, I sometimes disagree — he’s not a racist.”

In Lieberman’s opinion, O’Rourke may also be judging Netanyahu unfairly because of his association with an anti-Arab party.

“I think I understand what Mr. O’Rourke was talking about, which is that one of the groups that is a likely coalition within the Israeli political community, with the prime minister in this election, has some people in it that I don’t agree that have taken… a very… anti-Arab position.”

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Nonetheless, Lieberman said the comments were “not fair.”

When Webster asked whether Netanyahu would “survive” the election, Lieberman replied: “It’s neck and neck,” but the odds are that he stays on.