It’s Not Just Bernie Anymore—Centrist Dems Are Skipping AIPAC in a “Watershed Moment”

Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg have joined Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in abandoning the pro-Israel conference that critics call “a fringe, right-wing, radioactive rogue organization.”

Julia Conley February 27, 2020

The tide is turning among establishment Democrats on Israel/Palestine. (Photo by Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Suc­cumb­ing to grass­roots pres­sure, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and for­mer South Bend, Indi­ana May­or Pete Buttigieg both announced Wednes­day that they would not attend the Israel lob­by’s meet­ing this year, mak­ing them the lat­est two Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates to decline an invi­ta­tion to address the conference.

Jew­ish-led group IfNot­Now cred­it­ed its #SkipAIPAC cam­paign — which it’s lead­ing with MoveOn, Indi­vis­i­ble, and the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Par­ty — as well as years of pub­lic pres­sure from defend­ers of Pales­tini­ans’ human rights — with con­vinc­ing Buttigieg and Klobuchar to skip the conference.

"This is a watershed moment and a major victory against the bigotry that AIPAC has legitimized for decades," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch.

This is a water­shed moment and a major vic­to­ry against the big­otry that AIPAC has legit­imized for decades,” said IfNot­Now co-founder Dani Moscov­itch. Even mod­er­ates in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty are now refus­ing to attend a con­fer­ence by a right-wing lob­by that allies with big­ots just to shield the Israeli gov­ern­ment from any con­se­quences for deny­ing the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple free­dom and dignity.”

Because of grass­roots pres­sure, the tide is turn­ing,” IfNot­Now tweeted.

Jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald said the shift away from AIPAC solid­i­fies its sta­tus as a fringe, right-wing, radioac­tive rogue organization.”

It always was that, but its mask has final­ly fall­en and it’s now wide­ly rec­og­nized as such,” Green­wald tweeted.

Democ­rats as well as Repub­li­cans have for decades attend­ed the annu­al pol­i­cy con­fer­ence led by AIPAC, which sup­ports the Israeli mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion of Gaza and the West Bank.

Sens. Eliz­a­beth War­ren (D‑Mass.) was the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date this year to announce she would skip the con­fer­ence, fol­lowed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.) ear­li­er this week.

On Tues­day, sev­en IfNot­Now mem­bers were arrest­ed at for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign head­quar­ters in Philadel­phia for hold­ing a pub­lic action there. Biden and busi­ness­man Tom Stey­er have not com­mit­ted to skip­ping the AIPAC con­fer­ence, and IfNot­Now called for­mer New York May­or Michael Bloomberg, who is set to speak at the meet­ing, a lost cause.” 

MoveOn said it was encour­aged by the com­mit­ments of the four Demo­c­ra­t­ic candidates.

MoveOn mem­bers are excit­ed that Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates are lis­ten­ing to the grass­roots major­i­ty that sup­ports peace and diplo­ma­cy over dis­as­trous wars of choice,” said senior polit­i­cal advi­sor Dan Kalik. Thank you Sen­a­tors War­ren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, and May­or Pete for stand­ing by your val­ues and choos­ing to #SkipAIPAC. No can­di­dates should be pan­der­ing to AIPAC, which spent mil­lions in an attempt to defeat the Iran Nuclear Deal and con­tin­ues to give a plat­form to Islam­o­phobes and bigots.”

With a grow­ing num­ber of major polit­i­cal fig­ures refus­ing to align with the anti-Pales­tin­ian rights lob­by, IfNot­Now is also focused on end­ing the U.S. gov­ern­men­t’s sup­port for the Israeli mil­i­tary’s occupation.

It is time to end the blank check and for our tax dol­lars to stop fund­ing the Israeli occu­pa­tion,” said Moscovitch.

This sto­ry was first post­ed at Com­mon Dreams.

Julia Con­ley is a Maine-based staff writer for Com­mon Dreams.
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