Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl is challenging U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to a debate after the lawmaker equated funding Israel and the "Netanyahu war machine" to funding Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Sanders' remark came in response to the U.S. Senate's $118 billion border security bill that was unveiled on Sunday. The bill has funds going to support both Israel and Ukraine in their ongoing conflicts.

"The United States cannot continue to fund Netanyahu's horrific war against the Palestinian people," Sanders wrote. "This is not JUST about 27,000 Palestinians killed and 67,000 wounded - two-thirds of whom are women and children. This is not JUST about 70% of the housing units in Gaza being destroyed or damaged. This is not JUST about 1.7 million people driven from their homes. This is not JUST about hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children starving to death."

"This is also about our credibility in the international community and what this country stands for. If we continue to fund Netanyahu's indiscriminate war how can we, with a straight face, criticize Putin's targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine as a war crime? How can we criticize China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries for their many violations of human rights? Who in the world will not see through the hypocrisy?" he added.

Pearl, a Jewish-American who has been very vocal in support of Israel, responded to Sanders by calling for a debate because he is "sick and tired of you politicians spinning everything!"

"Hypothetically if 1200 innocents in Vermont were killed raped and tortured Oct 7th,from terrorists in Canada and more than 200 were kidnapped and held in tunnels now, what would your reaction be Senator?" Pearl posted on Twitter. "Would we be calling this Sanders War? Would we be calling for a cease fire before those men, women, children, infants were returned safely home to Vermont? Again, hypothetically, would we be worried more about the Canadians who elected these terrorists and remained quiet as they built these war tunnels under their houses, schools and hospitals or would you be worried about those kidnapped and their families. Have you forgotten as a Jew that we vowed NEVER AGAIN?"

He continued, "Israel must be allowed to defend itself and discourage its enemies from attacking her again. You are actually equating Israel's response in Gaza to Putin's attack on Ukraine? You think our standing in the world is at stake? How bout our standing as the greatest ally and friend any country could have? Or should we let China, Russia or Iran have that title? I challenge you Sir to a debate on Israel! I'm not a politician and I'm not an expert on the Middle East, but I know enough about my Bible and I know the truth. And I'm sick and tired of you politicians spinning everything! God Bless America Senator Sanders and Am Yisrael Chai."

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