Socialist Bernie Sanders, the front runner in race for the Democratic presidential nomination, attacked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday and was subsequently condemned by the organization.
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “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 concluded, “As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region.”
As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region. 2/2
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 23, 2020
AIPAC responded in a statement, writing, “Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment. 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 this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel,” AIPAC concluded. “Truly shameful.”
Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) February 24, 2020
Sanders has surrounded himself with fringe far-left voices – ranging from members of Congress to activists – who have extensive histories of documented anti-Semitism.
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who walks in lock-step with Omar and Tlaib but is more careful with her words, is also campaigning for Sanders.
Omar, who is among the most notorious anti-Semites in the country, responded with Sanders’ attack on AIPAC with glee, writing, “Thank you @BernieSanders for standing up for Palestinian human rights. All candidates should follow Bernie’s example and #SkipAIPAC!”
Thank you @BernieSanders for standing up for Palestinian human rights.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 24, 2020
“[Sanders] supports a ‘two-state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has often been very hostile to Israel’s defensive measures against the radical Islamic terrorism that engulfs the Jewish state on all sides,” The Daily Wire reported last year. “While running for president in 2016, Sanders cited a blatantly false number of Palestinian-Arab deaths that had allegedly resulted from the 2014 Gaza Strip war between the two sides.”
Sanders’ repeated hostility toward Israel has led some to predict that if he becomes the Democratic nominee that “Trump will win a majority of Jewish voters.”
New York Times columnist Bari Weiss even agrees with the assessment.
That is correct.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) February 24, 2020
Sanders’ contempt for Israel spilled over during his recent CNN town hall last week when he falsely accused Israel’s government of being racist.
Sanders was asked, “How do US-Israel relations look under your administration?”
“To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel,” Sanders responded.
This report has been updated to include additional information.