Americans for Peace Now petition AIPAC to ‘disinvite’ Netanyahu

“Benjamin Netanyahu has forged an alliance with racists,” states the petition, denouncing him for including the Otzma Yehudit party in the joint list.

By World Israel News staff

The left-wing Americans for Peace Now (APN) on Wednesday launched an online petition calling on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to “condemn and disinvite” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from attending next month’s AIPAC annual policy conference in Washington.

“Benjamin Netanyahu has forged an alliance with racists,” states the petition, adding, “AIPAC should condemn him, not make him a featured speaker at its policy conference.”

Earlier this month, AIPAC and other organizations, including the American Jewish Committee (AJC), criticized the Israeli prime minister for his role in the formation of a joint list to run in the April Knesset election, placing members of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, together with Jewish Home and National Union.

Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League in the United States and entered politics after he immigrated to Israel. His party was eventually banned from the Knesset based on accusations that it violated a law prohibiting racism. Kahane was assassinated in 1990, with Egyptian-born American citizen El Sayyid Nosair the primary suspect in the murder.

Netanyahu said that he was acting to prevent the loss of right-wing votes that might be wasted if the smaller parties, instead of uniting, ran separately and did not receive the minimum 3.25% of the vote to attain any seats in parliament.

Says the APN petition: “AIPAC recently condemned Otzma Yehudit as a ‘racist and reprehensible party’ with which AIPAC has a ‘longstanding policy not to meet.’ The very next day, AIPAC announced it was ‘honored’ to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man whose efforts likely will result in this vile party gaining representation in the Knesset.”

The petition continues: “If AIPAC wants to stand against Kahanists being mainstreamed into Israeli political life, it will need to repudiate the man responsible for bringing them in. Don’t let Netanyahu use AIPAC’s podium to send a pre-election message to Israelis that pro-Israel Americans tolerate normalizing racists.”

Netanyahu has maintained close ties with AIPAC. When the large pro-Israel lobby group criticized him, the prime minister did not refer to the organization by name and instead only reacted to the overall uproar over his inclusion of Otzma Yehudit.

Just before the last Knesset election in March 2015, Netanyahu addressed the annual AIPAC policy conference during the same visit that he defied President Barack Obama by speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, voicing opposition to the Iran nuclear deal that was in the works at the time.