SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed thousands in San Diego at the Convention Center Tuesday night in what his campaign called ''A Future to Believe In Rally."
Sanders' visit to San Diego comes one day after he used an appearance at a Salt Lake City school to deliver the speech he would have given at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington had his schedule permitted.
The 74-year-old Sanders, who would be the nation's first Jewish president, pledged to restart peace talks in the Middle East, a process he said would require ''hard but just decisions'' to put Israel and the Palestinians on a ''path toward peace.''
''I am here to tell you that, if elected president, I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel,'' Sanders said.
''But to be successful, we have also got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza, unemployment today is 44 percent and the poverty rate is almost as high. That cannot be ignored.'' Sanders also called for a negotiated settlement to the Syrian Civil War.
''Those who advocate for stronger military involvement by the U.S. to oust Assad from power have not paid close enough attention to history,'' Sanders said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad. ''That would simply prolong the war, and increase the chaos in Syria, not end it.''
Sanders' opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke at the AIPAC conference, saying ''the United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever and more determined than ever to prevail against our common adversaries and to advance our shared values.''