In a speech at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on his anti-Israel foreign policy.
On February 23, Sanders announced he would not attend AIPAC over concerns the group provides a platform for “bigotry.”
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides or leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference,” Sanders tweeted.
The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference. 1/2
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 23, 2020
In response to Sanders’s blanket statement of AIPAC members, Bloomberg said Sanders is “dead wrong” and these comments weaken the U.S.-Israel relationship.
“Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Democrats in this race have attended an AIPAC conference. One of them, Senator Sanders, has spent 30 years boycotting this event. And as you’ve heard by now, he called AIPAC a racist platform,” Bloomberg said. “Well let me tell you, he’s dead wrong. This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity, and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship.”
— CaseStudyQB (@CaseStudyQB) March 2, 2020
Bloomberg concluded by stating AIPAC’s work helps combat hatred, not fuel it.
“The reality is: AIPAC doesn’t fuel hatred. AIPAC works to combat it—and the violence that it can produce. And if more elected officials spoke to the people here, they’d understand that,” Bloomberg said.
Sanders, along with fellow progressive Democratic contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., claim to be “pro-Israel,” yet disavow bipartisan political groups working towards peace in the Middle East. They both galvanize with radical anti-Semites including Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and political activist Louis Farrakhan all of whom promote boycotts, sanctions, and complete divestment from the state of Israel.
Like Sanders, Warren has said she believes Israel has the right to protect itself, but when asked about whether she’d attend AIPAC a group with “Islamophobes,” “anti-Semites,” and “white nationalists,” Warren promptly said she would not attend the conference.