Democrats may have another Israel-related problem brewing on the horizon.
Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have announced that they will not be attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's policy conference after a prominent progressive pressure group, MoveOn.org, called on Democrats to boycott the event completely.
NBC News reports that Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — all vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination — have said they will not attend AIPAC's annual meeting, even though the American pro-Israel lobbying group is considered a moderate, centrist organization.
The problem seems to be that AIPAC, which fell under scrutiny from far-left Democrats after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) accused it of buying off American legislators, supports Jewish interests, including the continued existence of the State of Israel. The organization's stated mission is, of course, “to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.”
The Washington Examiner reports that MoveOn.org demanded that Democrats skip AIPAC in a horrifying series of tweets Wednesday, accusing the group of espousing "anti-Muslim" and "anti-Arab" rhetoric, and "giving platforms to those involved in human rights abuses," including, apparently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom MoveOn.org accused of "war crimes."
MoveOn is calling on 2020 presidential candidates to not attend the AIPAC conference.— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
Here are 4 reasons why:
#1— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
AIPAC spent tens of millions of dollars in 2015 to defeat the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by Pre. Obama along w international allies. It was a historic diplomatic agreement that Trump has tried to derail since taking office.
#2— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
AIPAC has been known to peddle anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to those involved in human rights abuses.
#3— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
AIPAC conference is headlined by Benjamin Netanyahu––under whose leadership Israel may have committed war crimes.
Netanyahu also recently made a deal to bring the "Israeli KKK" ultra-racist party into the next government.— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
#4— MoveOn (@MoveOn) March 20, 2019
AIPAC has refused to condemn the anti-Semitism of Republicans, such as Trump's friend and adviser Steve Bannon.
“It’s time for progressives to recognize where their base stands––which means upholding progressive principles on domestic AND foreign policy,” MoveOn.org concluded, clearly embracing the rhetoric of anti-Semitic Members of Congress like Omar and Rep. Rashida Tliab (D-MI). Omar, of course, referred to colleagues supportive of AIPAC as being "all about the Benjamins" (referring to $100 bills) in a tweet last month. Tliab has accused her colleagues of suffering from "dual loyalty" to both the United States and Israel, in part because of AIPAC's influence.
“It’s no secret that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” Iram Ali, MoveOn PAC's campaign director told NBC in a statement.
“We asked our members what they think so that we can make more informed decisions — and over 74% agreed that progressive presidential candidates should skip the AIPAC conference. This should also give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.," he added.
Although both then-presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama appeared at AIPAC in 2016 and 2008, respectively, it seems the progressive left has pushed party leaders to abandon their stalwart support of one of the United States' most powerful allies. Sanders, Warren, and Harris all jumped at MoveOn's request, and lesser candidates, like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, followed suit.
Beto O'Rourke is also expected to forgo the conference, though his lack of participation has yet to be confirmed.
A representative for Sen. Sanders pulled no punches on the organization when speaking about AIPAC to CNN, claiming that Sanders is "concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution."
Warren's and Harris' campaigns have not made public statements, but both campaigns confirmed to multiple media outlets that they would not be attending.