Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders accuses AIPAC of providing a platform for "bigotry"

 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a campaign rally at Vic Mathias Shores Park on February 23, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

Bernie Sanders during a campaign rally in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee issued a scathing statement after Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted he refuses to attend AIPAC's conference because he's concerned it provides a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights."

Why it matters: Sanders' statement on why he won't attend the pro-Israel lobby group's March 1–3 conference in Washington, D.C. — which AIPAC called an "odious attack" — comes a day after he comprehensively won the Nevada caucuses, making him the clear front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

  • Per Axios' Jonathan Swan, AIPAC's statement is the strongest it's ever made against a top presidential candidate.

Between the lines: Sanders didn't name anyone in his statement. But he has previously denounced as "racist" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed the AIPAC conference just last year.

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