Bernie Sanders will be the only presidential candidate to skip the 2016 policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the most influential pro-Israel group in the U.S.
The Vermont senator sent a letter to AIPAC President Robert Cohen on Friday, confirming that he will not be attending the conference. He said he will “be traveling throughout the West and the campaign schedule that we have prevents me from attending.”
“Since AIPAC has chosen not to permit candidates to address the conference remotely, the best that I can do is to send you a copy of the remarks that I would have given if I was able to attend,” Sanders wrote, adding that he should have the speech prepared for Monday. “Any help that you could give us in getting those remarks out to your members would be much appreciated,” he added.
Prominent journalist Max Blumenthal, who specializes in Israel-Palestine, created a petition calling on Sanders to reject AIPAC’s invitation to its conference.“As the main arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, AIPAC has sworn to promote the racist, militaristic, and anti-democratic policies of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” Blumenthal wrote in a description accompanying the petition. “Its conference this year will feature Islamophobes, anti-immigrant activists, and religious extremists.”
“With his promise to seek a “level playing field” on Israel-Palestine, Bernie does not belong on the same stage as these figures,” Blumenthal added.
Bernie’s bold move: Sanders only candidate to skip AIPAC pro-Israel conference - Salon.com