Two more Democratic presidential candidates will skip AIPAC conference

Bloomberg is the only Democratic candidate confirmed to speak at the bipartisan pro-Israel lobby event.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar announced this week that they will not attend next week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

The reason given for their decision was that it interfered with their campaigning efforts leading up to next week’s Super Tuesday’s primary, JNS reports.

IfNotNow, an American-Jewish progressive, pro-Palestinian NGO, hailed the candidates’ decision as a “major victory.”

“This is a watershed moment and a major victory against the bigotry that AIPAC has legitimized for decades,” said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch.

“Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity,” he added.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar join presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who also announced this week that they will not be attending.

Most critical of the country’s largest organization devoted to the U.S.-Israel relationship was Sanders, who tweeted on Sunday, “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.”

In response, AIPAC released a statement calling Sanders’ attack “truly shameful.”

“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” the statement said. “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.”

Mike Bloomberg is the only Democratic presidential candidate confirmed to address the conference.