The American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference is usually an essential stop for both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, but several 2020 Democrats have decided to skip the event this year.
The confirmed speakers at this year’s AIPAC event include plenty of Republicans — Vice President Mike Pence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas among them — and Democrats — such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
But a handful of contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination have declined invitations to speak at the nonpartisan conference.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas have said they won’t be attending the conference this year, according to Fox News.
Sanders’ policy director, Josh Orton, said the senator is “concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution.”
From @BernieSanders policy director @joshorton: “Sen. Sanders has no plans to attend the AIPAC conference. He’s concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution.”
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 21, 2019
Similarly, O’Rourke criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “racist” during a campaign event in New Hampshire on Tuesday, according to Fox News.
“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side,” O’Rourke said. “We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists.”
These candidates apparently are embracing the Democratic Party’s shift leftward, especially when it comes to anti-Israel attitudes.
They’re sending a strong message by rejecting the prominent Israel conference just weeks after Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish lobbyists.
O’Rourke, Sanders and the other candidates might not be anti-Semitic, but they’re doing exactly what anti-Semites want them to do.
It’s also pathetic that the 2020 hopefuls are slamming Israel’s leadership as “racist” in an attempt to gain some moral high ground from their absence.
If the candidates wanted to send a different message than Netanyahu, they could have attended the conference and done so.
AIPAC is a nonpartisan organization that hasn’t endorsed or contributed to any political candidates.
The obvious reason the 2020 hopefuls would decline an invite to AIPAC is to court rabid anti-Semites in far-left circles.
The silver lining is that Democrats seem to be greatly increasing President Donald Trump’s chances at a second term with their embrace of radical views.
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