February 24, 2020 12:30 pm
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) fired back at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday night after he said he would not attend the organization’s annual conference and accused it of providing a platform to leaders who “express bigotry and oppose Palestinian rights.”
In a statement AIPAC posted to Twitter, the pro-Israel group said Sanders “has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment.”
“In fact, many of his own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to the over 18,000 Americans from widely diverse backgrounds — Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Christians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, progressives, Veterans, students, members of the LGBTQ+ community — who participate in the conference to proclaim their support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the group said in the statement.
“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 organization continued. “Truly shameful.”
The lobbying group’s comments came in response to a pair of tweets Sanders sent out earlier on Sunday.
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights,” Sanders tweeted in an apparent reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “For that reason I will not attend their conference.”
“As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region,” he continued.
Last year, Sanders was one of a number of Democratic presidential contenders who skipped the group’s annual conference — an event regarded as an important campaign stop for presidential candidates — as Netanyahu’s administration faced scrutiny from progressives over its treatment of Palestinians.
His swipe at AIPAC comes months after the senator called Netanyahu’s coalition a “right-wing, dare I say racist, government” and accused him of “treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.”