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Activists are pressuring Democratic candidates to skip AIPAC conference

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A coalition of progressive organizations has launched a campaign aimed at pressuring Democratic candidates into skipping the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington.

IfNotNow, MoveOn, Indivisible and the Working Families Party’s #SkipAIPAC effort was kicked off last when Jewish student, and IfNotNow member, Sarah O’Connor asked Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders whether they would attend the event. Warren skipped the conference last year and said she planned to do it again. When O’Connor asked a follow-up question inquiring what Warren would tell candidates who are considering attending, she shifted the topic to a wider discussion about policy.

Sanders also skipped the conference last year and was the only Democratic candidate to skip it in 2016, but surprisingly he didn’t rule out attending this one.  “Well if I do go — I don’t think I am, I don’t think it’s going to be on my schedule — but you know, I have no objection to going, but the question is what I say when I get there,” he told O’Connor, “That’s the point. And what I will say is something that I have said for years, and I speak as somebody who’s Jewish, and that is we need a foreign policy in this country, we need a Mideast policy which absolutely protects the integrity and the independence and safety of Israel, but also understands that the Palestinian people have needs and they have got to be treated with respect and dignity. And that is not the case right now. So that is my view. We will treat all people with respect and dignity.”

Joe Biden told IfNotNow that he wouldn’t skip the conference, but that he’d use it to “convince them to change their position.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told the group that he wasn’t sure when the conference was and would have to check his schedule before making a decision.

Last week, AIPAC pulled four Facebook ads and apologized for running them. The ads targeted “radicals in congress” such as lawmakers Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). One of the ads implied that, by supporting pro-Palestine legislation, these congress members posed a greater threat than ISIS. “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah ISIS and — maybe more sinister — right here in the U.S. Congress,” it read.

“This is a test of moral leadership for the presidential field,” said Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell said in a statement announcing the launch of their campaign, “AIPAC has given a platform to toxic bigotry and provided cover for right-wing nationalists like Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. We call on presidential candidates to skip AIPAC’s conference and to embrace a progressive vision where all people, including Palestinians and Israelis, can thrive.”

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Donald Trump, will be bought and paid for again by his billionaire puppet masters, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson – at least $100 million!! https://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Sheldon-Miriam-Adelson-to-spend-100-million-for-Trump-re-election-bid-617187 “Sheldon, Miriam Adelson to spend $100 million for Trump re-election bid” “The Guardian said most of the money would be funneled through political action committees and ‘dark money’ groups that are not required to reveal donors. The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 11/20, by RON KAMPEAS WASHINGTON (JTA) — “Sheldon and Miriam Adelson… Read more »

Yes, Steyer is definitely an interesting figure, and one that doesn’t need AIPAC’s blood money either. As you say, he’s not stupid, though. While he doesn’t, since he doesn’t need to, grovel and beg for lobby money, I’m sure he doesn’t want any of the trouble the lobby could cause him as he struggles for viability. All of this , I believe, makes Bernie’s success while standing up to the lobby, and suffering the attacks… Read more »