Bernie Sanders 2016 election
© REUTERS
The Empire State Building is seen in the background from Transmitter Park as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders gestures during a campaign rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York April 8, 2016. .
US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) on Tuesday called the Netanyahu government "racist," at a CNN Town Hall on Tuesday.

The comments were made in response to a question of how he would maintain the strong relations between the United States and Israel, despite his criticism. The senator claimed that he is not anti-Israel, and noted that some members of his family live there and that he volunteered on a kibbutz decades ago.

"As a young man I spent a number of months in Israel, [and] worked on a kibbutz for while. I have family in Israel. I am not anti-Israel. But the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly," he said.

Sanders defined himself as "100% pro Israel" but said that he would approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict differently than past administrations.

"In other words, the goal is to try to unite people and not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing, dare I say, racist government," he added.

Israel has every right in the world to exist... in peace and security, and not be subjected to terrorist attacks. But the United States needs to deal with the Palestinian [people] as well and not just Israel," Sanders said.

"The United States gives billions of dollars a year to Israel in military aid - which [I] believe is not radical," Sanders said. "I just believe that the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis. In other words, the goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing - dare I say - racist government."