WASHINGTON – Senator Bernie Sanders, the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary, announced on Sunday that he won’t attend the annual AIPAC conference, accusing the organization of giving a platform to “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic rights” for the Palestinian people.
Sanders could soon become the first-ever Jewish presidential nominee of a major party and has been for years a critic of the leading lobby group supporting Israel in the United States.
– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 64
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Taking to Twitter, Sanders wrote that “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people.” But with regards to AIPAC, which will hold its annual conference next weekend in Washington, Sanders explained that “I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference.”
Sanders, who recently won the Democratic caucus in Nevada and the primary in New Hampshire, added that “As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region.”
Sanders did, however, speak at the J Street conference last year, the largest Jewish organization challenging AIPAC from the left.
AIPAC called Sanders' announcement "outrageous" and "shameful," and released a statement saying the Vermont senator had "never attended our conference", unlike many other senators and members of Congress.
"By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel," the statement read.