Feb 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders accuses AIPAC of providing a platform for "bigotry"

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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Israel's UN ambassador calls Bernie Sanders an "ignorant fool"

Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon tore into Sen. Bernie Sanders during his speech at the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC Sunday morning, calling the 2020 front-runner an "ignorant fool” and “a liar” and telling the audience, “We don’t want Sanders in Israel."

Why it matters: AIPAC, which has faced increasing difficulty in recent years maintaining American bipartisan relations with Israel, was hoping to avoid partisan politics at this year's conference. Danon’s remarks are not going to make this any easier.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 1, 2020 - World

Bernie's historic Jewish fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sen. Bernie Sanders would be the first Jewish presidential nominee of a major American political party — but that history-making possibility is being overshadowed by his conflicts with America's Jewish leaders and Israel's leadership.

The big picture: That's partly because we're all focusing on the implications of Democrats nominating a self-described democratic socialist. It's also because a candidate's religion no longer seems to matter as much to voters or the media, making the potential milestone of a Jewish nominee more of a non-event.

Israeli election: Netanyahu has momentum despite corruption case

Netanyahu campaigns with a friend behind him. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters Israel's third elections in 10 months with momentum — and with his corruption trial looming just two weeks after the vote.

Why it matters: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for nearly a year as Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, grapple for power. Monday's vote could provide the breakthrough, or set Israel on course for yet another election.

Go deeperArrowFeb 27, 2020 - World