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Which Democratic 2020 contenders would move embassy back to Tel Aviv?

By Josefin Dolsten

(JTA) – Democratic presidential contenders aren’t happy that President Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But that doesn’t mean they would reverse his decision. Axios queried leading 2020 hopefuls about their thoughts on the embassy move. 

While several candidates – including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. – criticized the move, they said they didn’t think returning it to Tel Aviv would accomplish much.

“Now that the embassy has been moved, I do not see moving it back as either practical or productive, and believe we should focus on reclaiming our status as a trusted mediator as we work towards peace and a two-state solution,” Booker told Axios.

Biden said he “would reopen our consulate in East Jerusalem to engage the Palestinians,” while Gillibrand would reopen “the diplomatic mission to the Palestinians” and restart USAID programs.

Several other candidates did not respond, but Axios collected some of their previous comments on the topic.

Here’s their list who said whether or not they’d move the U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv:

Joe Biden: No, but he “would reopen our consulate in East Jerusalem to engage the Palestinians.”

Elizabeth Warren: Didn’t respond.

Kamala Harris: Didn’t respond.

Pete Buttigieg: No – “I don’t know that we’d gain much.”

Bernie Sanders: Refused to comment.

Kirsten Gillibrand: No, but she called the move to Jerusalem “unproductive and impulsive” and said that she would “undertake new diplomatic initiatives to restart peace negotiations, including reopening the diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.”

Julian Castro: Didn’t respond.

Amy Klobuchar: No, but she called it an “unfortunate” move.

Cory Booker: No, but he said he opposed the move.

Steve Bullock: No, but he said, “I wouldn’t have moved the embassy without getting something out of it.”

Main Photo: From left to right, Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren, Tim Ryan, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. Credit: Getty Images/JTA Montage 

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