- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2020

The pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a blistering statement Sunday night slamming Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for claiming the organization gives a platform for “bigotry.”

Mr. Sanders announced on Twitter that he would be keeping in tradition by not attending AIPAC’s annual conference this year, writing that the Palestinian people deserve “peace and security” just like the Israelis.

“I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights,” the senator tweeted. “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.”

AIPAC responded to Mr. Sanders in a tweeted statement, calling his attacks “shameful” and touting the group’s diversity.

“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” AIPAC said. “In fact, many of his own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to the 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.

“By engaging in such an odious attack on the 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 group concluded.

Mr. Sanders joins at least one other Democratic presidential candidate who is skipping the AIPAC conference next week in Washington. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who skipped the event last year, signaled earlier this month that she would not be attending.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said this month that he plans to attend so he can “convince them to change their position,” USA Today reported.

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