American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, released a blistering statement on Sunday targeting socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator accused the organization of illuminating "bigotry."
Sanders announced Sunday that he would not attend AIPAC's annual conference because AIPAC "provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights."
"As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders added.
In response, AIPAC called Sanders' decision "truly shameful," noted that he has never attended the annual AIPAC conference, and accused Sanders of turning his back on those who support U.S.-Israeli relations.
Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment. In fact, many of his own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to over 18,000 Americans from widely diverse backgrounds — Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Christians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, progressives, Veterans, students, members of the LGBTQ+ community—who participate in the conference to proclaim their support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel.Truly shameful.
Despite coming from Jewish origins, Sanders is often openly critical of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In fact, Sanders has called Netanyahu "racist," and condemned President Donald Trump's decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Sanders has said he would likely return the embassy to Tel Aviv to help bring peace between Israel and Palestine.