2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Shun Pro-Israel AIPAC Conference

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Shun Pro-Israel AIPAC Conference

The ever-growing list of Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination matches the list of those choosing to eschew the AIPAC Policy Conference.
Sanford Horn

It seems these days that the Democratic hopefuls for president in 2020 are taking their marching orders from the far left, in the likes of Moveon.org and Code Pink, thus squandering an important opportunity.

Both of these fringe leftist operations have petitioned, demanded, and cajoled, to great effect, 16 Democrats to shun the AIPAC Policy Conference held in Washington DC March 24-26. AIPAC has been in the news quite a bit lately, thanks to the false accusations leveled by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—is a 501(c)(4) bipartisan advocacy organization founded in 1951 promoting strong relations between the United States and Israel. Don’t confuse the PAC in AIPAC with a political action committee, which far too many people do. AIPAC, of which I am a proud member, does not endorse or contribute to political candidates.

Some of my most conservative friends are members of AIPAC, as are some of my most liberal friends. AIPAC truly exemplifies what bipartisanship is all about, and perhaps Congress could take a few lessons there.

The following Democrats were slated to speak at the AIPAC conference: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). While I do not endorse these people’s politics, I applaud them for planning to speak at AIPAC, and for understanding the importance of such an organization for furthering a strong and fruitful relationship between the United States and the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

On the other hand, the ever-growing list of Democrat candidates seeking their party’s nomination matches the list of those choosing to eschew the AIPAC Policy Conference. The who’s who of cowards includes:

  • Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey
  • Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former San Antonio, Texas mayor Julian Castro
  • Former U.S. representative John Delaney, Maryland
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, California
  • Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
  • Former U.S. representative Robert Francis O’ Rourke, Texas
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont
  • Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, a Democrat masquerading as an Independent
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts
  • Author Marianne Williamson
  • Former tech executive Andrew Yang

With whom are these recalcitrant Democrats attempting to curry favor? Anti-Israelis? Anti-Semites? Anti-Zionists? The candidates certainly want the financial contributions and votes of Jewish Americans. And for decades the Democrat Party and its candidates have taken and still take the votes of the Jewish people for granted.

What do these Democrats fear? Do they fear the loss of support from far-left organizations such as Moveon.org and Code Pink simply for speaking before a mainstream, politically agnostic organization such as AIPAC? Or is it because AIPAC is a Jewish-themed organization? Or is it because President Donald Trump supports Israel, and has been one of its greatest allies since its founding in 1948?

After all, in addition to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after decades and numerous administrations promised, then balked at the notion, President Trump just last week acknowledged and supports Israel’s legitimate claim to the Golan Heights, saying “this is about sovereignty and security.”

“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” tweeted Trump.

The Golan Heights, at Israel’s northern border, was captured during the Six-Day War in June 1967, a war initiated by Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, culminating in victory by Israel. Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his joy in Trump’s support on Golan. “Trump has made history. He did it again—first Jerusalem,” and then he pulled out of the Iran deal, said Netanyahu.

Yet, none of this should be relevant, as AIPAC is bipartisan, and the Democrat candidates should speak at AIPAC because they support strengthening relations between the United States and Israel. Apparently their hatred of Trump trumps the alliance between the two countries that will long outlive this administration. Shame on the Democratic candidates for their pettiness.

Sanford Horn is a writer and educator living in Indiana. Currently Sanford is working to open a charter school in Indiana. His work has appeared in the Alexandria Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The Indianapolis Star. He and his wife are active in their Jewish community and are the parents of two daughters currently attending college.

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