Democratic Presidential Candidates Skip AIPAC Summit

Arturo Kim
March 25, 2019

"I think this means that AIPAC stances and policies are coming to the forefront".

"The Democrats have very much proven to be anti-Israel".

Several top Democratic presidential candidates have announced they plan to skip the pro-Israel lobby group's conference, a decision that reflects a growing debate within the party on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. support for Israel.

A major liberal activist group this week demanded Democrats boycott the upcoming convention of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, calling for a show of support for those who attack AIPAC as too powerful in US politics.

The call comes despite a trend for criticism of AIPAC or Israel to come under fire as anti-Semitic, even if such opprobrium has nothing to do with the Jewish faith. He is scheduled to speak at AIPAC and meet with Trump next week.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) "is not planning to attend, but she will be meeting with her constituents", her spokesperson told JNS.

He said Democrats' field of 2020 candidates must shun AIPAC's gathering, which begins Sunday, as a signal.

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AIPAC has refused to comment on the absence of the presidential candidates, but noted that some of the Democratic candidates in the current primaries have already attended the conference, including Harris, Sen. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence (R) will speak, as well as a number of other administration officials. Indeed, President Donald Trump has out-Israel'd Israel by declaring his support for recognizing its sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights - recognition few in Israel actually want, aside from PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but which the discovery of oil in the region has apparently mandated.

Trump has restored relations with Israel by visiting and by moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem, something presidents since Reagan promised to do but never did. And she's also drawn scrutiny for her comments about AIPAC.

On Thursday, Trump announced in a historic step that the time has come for the U.S. to recognize Israel's sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

Israel's parliament narrowly adopted by 62 votes to 55, a 2018 law defining the country as a Jewish nation, provoking fears of blatant discrimination against 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, who comprise about a quarter of the population. Omar is one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress.

The second, a resolution, also condemned anti-semitism but focused on Islamaphobia and "other forms of bigotry" as well.

"Israel is not a state of all its citizens", Netanyahu recently said, referring to the deeply controversial law declaring Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Omar remains a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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