Sanders will not attend AIPAC, offers to share remarks

US Politics
on 35 Comments

For the last several weeks there has been much speculation over whether presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would address the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC. A petition calling on Sanders to skip the conference has gathered over 5,000 signatures so far leading Fortune magazine to declare, “Bernie Sanders Faces an Israel Problem.”

Today, Sanders finally sought to rectify that problem . . . sort of. In a letter to the Israel lobby organization Sanders said he would not be able to attend the conference due to campaign commitments, but he would like to share his remarks with AIPAC members.

Here’s his letter:

AIPAC_letter

This letter does little to clarify Sanders position regarding AIPAC and his vision for U.S. policy in Israel/Palestine. We’ll just have to wait to see if the organization releases his text.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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35 Responses

  1. Krauss
    March 18, 2016, 5:42 pm

    Disappointing. It conveys the message that the main obstacle was the delivery of his remarks. Sanders shouldn’t even be negotiating with these alien lobbyists.

    He decries the influence of special interests in domestic policy, but its suddenly good or at least acceptable in foreign policy? This is one area where the grassroots progressives who support Sanders simply must improve on. We can’t be impartial to Apartheid.

  2. broadside
    March 18, 2016, 7:43 pm

    “This letter does little to clarify Sanders position regarding AIPAC….”

    It doesn’t? I think it offers plenty, starting w “Dear Bob,” then going straight into “I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with you this morning”; note “the opportunity.” Not just “our chat this morning.” The usual AIPAC grovel. And “Any help that you could give us in getting those remarks out to your members would be much appreciated” clarifies things further — unless you’re suggesting this is all some kind of a set-up, but if he had that kind of courage, was going to offer those kinds of words, he’d certainly go to the conference to say them, where they’d have a lot more impact than whatever he’s saying campaigning. (To paraphrase Grand Moff Tarkin, “I think you overestimate his chances.”)

    I think what this letter, and Sanders’ absence from the conference, clarifies mostly is the fraud and coward, Bernie Sanders.

    My prediction: he will not offer a word of criticism on Netanyahu’s reprehensible behavior toward Obama, and the mild criticism he does offer on the occupation/Israeli behavior toward Palestinians will of course be couched in terms of what it is doing to Israel, what it’s doing to us, Bob. The Jews.

  3. ckg
    March 18, 2016, 8:53 pm

    Sanders has given grief to Clinton for not releasing a copy of her Goldman Sachs remarks to the public. So now, to be fair, he should release a copy of these AIPAC remarks to the public.

    • Kay24
      March 18, 2016, 9:00 pm

      You are right. There is no reason why that should be top secret. His supporters should know where he stands on this issue, and whether he is, like other politicians, says one thing, but gives the zionists a wink and a nod, to keep the occupation going, and the illegal settlements being built, while speaking falsely about a 2 SS.

    • Kris
      March 19, 2016, 11:38 am

      According to his letter, Sanders is sending AIPAC the letter on Monday. Today is Saturday.

      Isn’t it a little early to start criticizing him for not releasing a letter that he has not even sent yet?

      • eljay
        March 19, 2016, 11:54 am

        The letter to Mr. Cohen does not appear to contradict the known fact that Mr. Sanders is a Zionist. The follow-up letter containing his remarks likely won’t contradict it, either. Is this supposed to be surprising to anyone?

      • echinococcus
        March 19, 2016, 5:09 pm

        It’s extremely surprising for his groupies who, even after reading the record of all his votes for war and for our complicity with the Zionist invasion and genocide, even after having been yelled at about “the right of Israel to defend itself” prefer their religious belief in the sanctity of their pet hope carrier to any facts. According to them, BS has been clandestine Antizionist who voted for the enemy for 40 years for the sole purpose of pulling off his mask once elected.

      • Kris
        March 20, 2016, 11:30 pm

        I’m feeling hopeful tonight, echinococcus.

      • Bumblebye
        March 21, 2016, 7:19 am

        Love it!

  4. Parity
    March 18, 2016, 10:16 pm

    Phil, please send Sanders a copy of the speech you wrote for him to give to AIPAC.

    • rugal_b
      March 19, 2016, 8:31 am

      Thats too much work. Phil prefers writing ten articles praising the glorified white supremacist Trump as the savior against the Jewish backed neocons instead.

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        March 19, 2016, 11:30 am

        Your comment is insulting and completely false. Phil is a courageous journalist who speaks truth to power. Rugal what is your point of your post except to incite and divide.

    • John Fearey
      March 20, 2016, 10:45 am

      Could someone in the DC area perhaps copy Phil’s excellent speech on to Bernie’s stationary using the letterhead above (cut and paste) and drop it off with Bob first thing tomorrow?
      To “rugal_b”: writing ten articles is a lot of work.
      Cheers,John

  5. Eric
    March 19, 2016, 8:34 am

    Sanders would not be getting generally favourable coverage in the liberal Zionist media (eg, Forward, Tablet, Haaretz) — or the US MSM, which is indistinguishable — if he wasn’t “reliable” on Israel. This meek letter to AIPAC proves Sanders will be no better on I/P, should he become President, than all the others. And the siege of Gaza goes on.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      March 19, 2016, 11:32 am

      I completely disagree. No matter what he does, he will be vilified by someone. That he did not attend AIPAC is admirable.

    • Kris
      March 19, 2016, 11:46 am

      @Eric: “This meek letter to AIPAC proves Sanders will be no better on I/P, should he become President, than all the others.”

      “Meek letter?” It’s just an ordinary, polite letter, and doesn’t “prove” anything.

      Given the realities of politics in the U.S., Sanders would deliberately provoke the Zionists only if he wanted to destroy his campaign.

      • echinococcus
        March 19, 2016, 11:53 pm

        Kris,
        You were corrcet this time:

        Given the realities of politics in the U.S., Sanders would deliberately provoke the Zionists only if he wanted to destroy his campaign

        Which means that his campaign is exactly the same as any other Zionist-browntongue’s. As already documented by the guy’s entire record. What else but an imperialist, Zionist campaign can anyone expect from inside one or the other wing of the Repucrats?

  6. rolf
    March 19, 2016, 10:03 am

    NOT AGAIN!
    is Bernie SANDERS for U.S. INTERESTS or ISRAEL’s?!!
    Public must push Sanders to ANSWER this before Vote!

    This is a 2nd SIGN, after his anti-Islamaphobia stance, that Sanders might be fighting ZIONISM, BUT not really! He is NOT Attending heinous AIPAC meeting, unlike Traitor (bought zionist brown-noser) Hillary Clinton, because of half-ass reasons!
    1. his letter to AIPAC states he would Not be able to attend due to CAMPAIGN COMMITMENTS, not conviction!
    2. he would like to SHARE his remarks on conference
    3. “I would VERY Much have ENJOYED speaking at the AIPAC conference”!?! Enjoyed what aspect?!
    4. “Hope your conference goes well”?! For who?! Israel’s, not USA’s sake?!

    So AGAIN we have no clue on his real position, when in future, as president, it will come down to choosing US Interests vs Israeli!?

    Public must push Sanders to ANSWER this before Vote!
    …since USA blindly supports israel with $3.2B FREE AID per year
    + much more militarily,
    whilst Millions AMERICANS are HOMELESS/HUNGRY/uncovered by Medical Care & our infrastructure/educational system is crumbling,
    & Israel never had US INTERESTS at heart or helped USA
    – it has only endangered USA, festered worldwide terrorism, ruined economies worldwide, incited the worst refugee crisis in history, incited WWII as we have public discontent & civil unrest & wars everywhere, incited anti-semitism/general racism and a totally destabilized world etc., all in the sick weak name of nwo/hegemonic imperialism, supremacism, useless central banking, petrodollar wars, war-mongering profiteering etc!

    a 2nd sign Sanders is Zionist at heart, deep down, when it will come down to choosing israel vs world peace – see his typical zionist fit in this election video (2014-07-17 Town hall meeting in Cabot VT) that is hidden by mainstream media: https://youtu.be/Vf2cCdgwgoM
    Would Sanders have had the same fit if the public’s questions were not critical of israel but critical of Palestine or any other muslim/arab country – that is the Question! Which would reveal his real stance – the emotional one deep down is what you are!

    Bernie!! DECIDE if you’re pro-US INTERESTS or israel’s!!
    To vote for You We the People Must know your stance!
    You claim to be anti-establishment, pro People, social democrat,
    yet the entire israel concept is anti-American, anti-humanity, even anti-Judaism (which believes saving 1 life is saving the Universe)!
    Israel has never helped US interests & USA can not afford israel!

    israel (Nazism 2.0) does not share US interests.
    Israel is the world’s TOP RACIST Supremacist Goliath
    as agreed by World + non-zionist (purely) Jewish community!
    The world is FED UP being held RANSOM by a tiny 20,770km2 (154th largest country) rogue terrorist parasitic state!

    Big List of Conflicting Interests of Dual US/Israeli citizenships in US politicians
    2014-08 list by The Am. Freedom Party
    http://american3rdposition.com/?p=12767

    “GOLIATH: Life and Loathing in Greater ISRAEL”
    book by Max Blumenthal 2014-08-26 http://goo.gl/wwk9v8

    HILLARY Clinton reaffirms “unbreakable bond” with israel 2015-11-04
    http://forward.com/opinion/national/324013/how-i-would-rebuild-ties-to-israel-and-benjamin-neta

    REASON why USA is STUCK SLEEPING w/ ISRAEL:
    “Even Left-Wing Politicians Can’t Quit Israel!” Daily Beast 2014-07-30
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/30/even-left-wing-congressmen-can-t-quit-israel.html

    COST of Israeli support in USA
    ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer 2013-10-21 in Congressional hearing (9min)
    ▶http://youtu.be/XHl1JnQoIWQ?list=PL916FB07D3A753A37

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      March 19, 2016, 11:33 am

      I completely disagree. No matter what he does, he will be vilified by someone. That he did not attend AIPAC is admirable.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      March 19, 2016, 11:34 am

      If Bernie were to speak out now he wouldn’t have a chance in hell to win the nomination. Get real!

  7. James Michie
    March 19, 2016, 10:20 am

    Sharing with you, Adam Horowitz, my tweet to Sanders: You have a far better reason for not speaking to AIPAC. Speak truth to Zionist Israel’s brutal, racist occupation of Palestine!

    As a “supporter” of Bernie Sanders, I am very disappointed in his failure to speak truth to AIPAC, an organization that should be registered as a foreign agent. Appears to me that Sanders is going Zionist-light on us, when he ought to know that he can’t have it both ways with those Americans who have taken the time to discover just how despicable Zionist Israel really is! Zionism is racism!

  8. lysias
    March 19, 2016, 10:36 am

    Today’s Washington Post actually has an article on the counter-AIPAC conference addressed by Gideon Levy and Colonel Wilkerson.

  9. tarheelnm
    March 19, 2016, 10:38 am

    A candidate with integrity would have said, “‘I decline because of AIPAC’s bludgeoning role in promoting Israeli apartheid & colonialism, its burgeoning interference in U.S. foreign policy, and its abhorrent reactionary politics toward immigrants & Muslims”. Sanders, sniffing the political wind, has chosen instead to dissemble with a crafty response designed to placate both AIPAC and those progressives who are becoming increasingly aware of his pro-Israel stance. Just another political move from a politician who wants to be president.

    • Kris
      March 19, 2016, 1:41 pm

      The candidate with integrity will do his best to avoid being pulled down by this trap, I hope.

  10. Kris
    March 19, 2016, 1:40 pm

    If drastic, immediate action is not taken on climate change, the Palestinians, and all the rest of us, have no future.

    If corporate and elitist control of the U.S. government is not eliminated, the Palestinians, like the rest of us, have no future.

    Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who wants to take immediate, drastic action on those two issues, which are really one issue, since the lack of effective action on climate change is a result of corporate control of our government.

    That’s why all I want Bernie Sanders to do is to avoid stirring up the Zionists, who are slavering for an pretext to smother the Sanders campaign with deafening cries of “antisemitism” from now until the Democratic convention.

  11. Herchel
    March 19, 2016, 3:56 pm

    5000 signatures? A cordial letter from Senator Sanders without a hint of criticism towards AIPAC?

    Yeah, it really sounds like the tide is turning. Keep up the good work MW! There are three times that many people any given Donald Trump rally.

  12. Rusty Pipes
    March 19, 2016, 7:48 pm

    It’s a passive-aggressive response from Bernie Sanders, much like those Hollywood celebrities who have been too busy to perform in Tel Aviv. His written remarks may not be what we here would want to hear, but I expect that they will be closer to what J Street would want to hear. Since Sanders was one of the first legislators to declare that he would not be present for Netanyahu’s command performance in the Capitol, I doubt he’s going to pander to Netanyahu. He’ll likely support Obama’s policy initiatives toward Israel pretty much down the line (which is more than Hillary will do). No matter how he phrases it, that’s not what AIPAC wants to hear.

    • Eric
      March 20, 2016, 9:59 am

      You’re right, Rusty. Bernie won’t pander to Nuttyyahoo, but rather to Isaac Herzog, who’s even worse. Until Bernie renounces his summer of 2014 pro-IDF genocide endorsement harangue, he’s just another Zionist shill. Thinly disguised as a progressive and patriotic American, of course.

      • echinococcus
        March 20, 2016, 2:43 pm

        Thank you for a breath of sanity.

    • Rusty Pipes
      March 20, 2016, 10:48 am

      I also do not expect him to write anything that will directly contradict his speeches about Islamophobia in Dearborn, Michigan or his general economic platform, including campaign finance reform.

      Mentioning his platform in general terms would be enough to give many AIPAC attendees heartburn. I don’t know what percentage of people in the room will be millionaires and billionaires, but it will certainly be way higher than the average for his rallies. If he gets more specific, since he has talked about the influence of mega-donors on domestic issues, especially Wall Street donors on American Economic policies, he could talk about the influence of mega-donors on American Foreign Policy — especially Democrats’ mega donors — and whether billionaires are buying our Foreign Policy in the Middle East.

      But I doubt he’ll be that specific.

  13. Nevada Ned
    March 19, 2016, 8:12 pm

    Bernie Sanders is following the received wisdom that “foreign policy can’t win an election, but it can lose an election”.

    Bernie has attacked the establishment, Wall Street, etc., and has called for a “political revolution.”

    On foreign policy, he has been more cautious.

    He was the first US Senator to announce that he was not going to attend Netanyahu’s idiotic speech to a joint Congress. .

    • Nevada Ned
      March 19, 2016, 8:33 pm

      Sanders is the ONLY Presidential candidate to skip the AIPAC meeting. See the coverage over at Common Dreams.
      Sanders says that he’s skipping the AIPAC meeting because of his campaign schedule, but all the other candidates (Trump, Cruz, Clinton) are going. What do you expect Bernie to say?
      “Sorry, I’m washing my hair!”

      • CigarGod
        March 19, 2016, 8:57 pm

        Not true.
        Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

    • echinococcus
      March 19, 2016, 10:47 pm

      So friggin what? BS is J-Street and “Labor” genocidal Zionism! If you think that is any better, then you really need some strong coffee.

      You know, “Labor” like “Zionist Bloc”. Like the folks who brought us invasion, partition, “state”, Nakba, occupation, four major wars and genocide. Like the “human” moonface of Zionism.

      Slowly but surely, all the lies by the single-party people are starting to reach a critical mass.

  14. Rusty Pipes
    March 19, 2016, 8:18 pm

    In other news leading up to the AIPAC conference, at a DNC major donor dinner, some anonymous attendees claim that Obama endorsed Hillary after reporters left the room. You’ll just have to take their word for it, like the New York Times did. Just for some context on the event:

    The Austin event was hosted by Kirk Rudy, a real estate executive, and raised money for the Democratic National Committee. Attendees paid as much as $33,400 a ticket.

    Mr. Sanders is trying to reassure supporters and the public that he is still in pursuit of the presidency despite the long odds against him. Some of his supporters have complained that the Democratic National Committee has favored Mrs. Clinton in the primary battle

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz recruited mega donors (the majority of whom are probably Hillary supporters anyway) to come to a dinner where Obama encouraged everyone to rally around the nominee and unsurprisingly, some of them want us to believe that he was endorsing Hillary. Here’s the White House spokesperson, according to the Hill:

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday acknowledged the president’s comments.

    “President Obama made a case that would be familiar to all of you, which is that as Democrats move through this competitive primary process, we need to be mindful of the fact that our success in November in electing a Democratic president is dependent on the commitment and ability of the Democratic Party to come together behind our nominee,” he told reporters.

    Mindful about keeping the party united going into November, Obama was careful not to officially endorse a candidate in front of the donors.

    Earnest said he “did not indicate or specify a preference in the race.”

    While Obama recognized both candidates have strengths, he once again praised Clinton as tough and qualified and said she would carry on the legacy of his administration

    Robert Reich thinks that even if the story is true or has some truthiness (coming from the NYT, “whose recent track record of impartiality is hardly impeccable”), Obama’s statements were unwise:

    If the story is true, it was a bad idea for the President to hold such a meeting because:

    1. Barely half the primaries and caucuses have been held, and Bernie is expected to do well in coming contests in Arizona, Wisconsin, Idaho, Utah, Washington state, and New York.

    2. It’s hardly necessary to tell big donors to unite behind Hillary because they already have; Bernie isn’t getting their money.

    3. Such meetings with big Democratic donors won’t exactly help Hillary attract enthusiastic Bernie supporters if she gets the Democratic nomination and needs them for the general election.

    4. If anything, such meetings reinforce the notion that Hillary Clinton is the epicenter of the same Wall Street-corporate-Democratic complex that had far too much influence over both her husband’s and Obama’s administrations.

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