Sanders accuses AIPAC of allowing bigotry, says he will boycott policy conference

“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” AIPAC responded.

By World Israel News Staff 

Senator Bernie Sanders, the current front-runner in the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency, has accused AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, of  allowing for the expression of “bigotry” and says that he will not attend the group’s largest event of the year, the AIPAC Policy Conference, which is scheduled for next week.

“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. For that reason, I will not attend their conference,” Sanders tweeted on Sunday.

“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” AIPAC responded a few hours later. “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. Truly shameful.”

The lobby group notes that “many of his [Sanders’] own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to 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.”

In October, Sanders spoke at the major annual event of J Street, which touts itself as an organization that is comprised of  “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.” However, some of its leaders have expressed sympathy if not support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.

At the J Street conference in Washington, Sanders argued that a portion of the U.S. military assistance to Israel should go instead toward providing humanitarian relief in the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Hamas terror group.

“I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion,” Sanders said, referring to the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel negotiated by former President Barack Obama.

Some of the aid should “go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza,” he said.

He repeated his condemnation of the current Israeli government, saying that “it is not anti-Semitism to say that the Netanyahu government has been racist.” It is just “a fact,” he insisted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working with the U.N., Egypt, and Qatar to provide aid to Gazan civilians, saying that he is trying to ensure that the monies do not wind up in the hands of terrorists.