President Trump on Friday accused Democrats of being “anti-Jewish” when asked about top Democratic presidential candidates’ refusal to attend the upcoming American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.
“The Democrats have proven to be anti-Israel, and it’s a disgrace,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn as he prepared to depart for Mar-a-Lago. “Frankly, I think they are anti-Jewish.”
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 22, 2019
Trump’s comments come one day after the Associated Press reported that Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) would not attend the annual AIPAC conference at the end of the month, and a spokesman for Beto O’Rourke told NBC News that the former Texas congressman also plans to skip the event.
The candidates’ decisions to skip the conference came after the liberal advocacy group MoveOn called for them to boycott the event due to AIPAC’s perceived opposition to progressive ideals.
“It’s no secret that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” Iram Ali, campaign director for MoveOn’s political action committee, wrote in a post on the group’s website. “We asked our members what they think so that we can make more informed decisions — and over 74% agreed that progressive presidential candidates should skip the AIPAC conference. This should also give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.”
This year’s conference will feature speeches by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The controversy over Democratic opposition to AIPAC comes amid recent allegations of anti-Semitism leveled against freshman Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who has divided the caucus by publicly indulging in anti-Semitic tropes and by suggesting that the ensuing criticism was the result of anti-Muslim bias on the part of her “Jewish colleagues.”