The American Israel Public Affairs Committee rebuked Sen. Bernie Sanders after the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful announced his plans to skip the organization’s annual policy conference.
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security,” the Vermont senator tweeted Sunday. “So do the Palestinian people. 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.”
“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 added.
As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region. 2/2
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 23, 2020
AIPAC, which labels itself “a bipartisan organization of U.S. citizens committed solely to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship,” called Sanders’ accusation that it allows members to “express bigotry” against Palestinians an “odious attack.”
“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” the group’s statement read. “Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly Shameful.”
Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) February 24, 2020
Sanders’s decision not to attend the May conference makes him the second presidential candidate to announce they won’t be making it to the event. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said she will not attend the conference earlier this month, and no presidential candidate has been confirmed as a speaker for the event, according to the Times of Israel.
The Vermont senator has previously argued that United States policy should not be pro-Israel and said that he’d make aid to Israel contingent upon “chang[ing] your relationship with Gaza” as president.