Former US Senator and pro-Israel stalwart Joe Lieberman dies at 82

Former US Senator and pro-Israel stalwart Joe Lieberman dies at 82
Former US Senator Joe Lieberman dies at 82 in New York City. A pro-Israel stalwart, he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000.
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Pro-Israel stalwart and former US Senator Joe Lieberman dies at 82 [GETTY]

Former pro-Israel US senator and Democratic Party vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman died on Wednesday at age 82 in New York City after suffering complications from a fall, his family said.

"His beloved wife, Hadassah, and members of his family were with him when he passed," the statement said. "Senator Lieberman's love of God, his family and America endured throughout his service in the public interest."

Lieberman was the Democratic Party's vice-presidential nominee in the 2000 election, which Republican George W. Bush won over Democrat Al Gore. Lieberman was the US's first Jewish candidate on a major party presidential ticket.

While the former senator was a loyal supporter of Israel, he did critique the Israeli government in 2019 for denying entry to Democrat Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

Pro-Israeli organisation AIPAC said "the pro-Israel movement will always be indebted" to Lieberman and "his leadership was essential and critical in promoting policies that strengthened the bonds between the United States and Israel".

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the former senator as a "matchless champion of the Jewish people and the Jewish state".

Lieberman became an independent after accusing members of the Democratic Party of saying "explicitly antisemitic things".

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He failed in a bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, hurt by his support for the Iraq War.

A centrist, Lieberman was first elected to the US Senate in 1988. He lost the state's Democratic primary in 2006 but retained his seat by winning the general election as an independent candidate.

In a further break from the Democratic Party, Lieberman endorsed Republican Senator John McCain for president in a speech at the Republican National Convention 2008.

However, Lieberman would later back Democrats Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020 in their presidential bids.

Lieberman retired from the Senate in 2013 after four six-year terms.