March 18, 2016

Bernie Sanders won’t be addressing pro-Israel group

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States, on February 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Young
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUROCK-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Feb. 16, 2016, and with RNS-CAMOSY-COLUMN, originally transmitted on April 18, 2016.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States, on February 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Young *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUROCK-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Feb. 16, 2016, and with RNS-CAMOSY-COLUMN, originally transmitted on April 18, 2016.

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(RNS) Bernie Sanders is the only Jewish candidate in the presidential field of two Democrats and three Republicans, and he will also be the only one not addressing next week’s annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

But unlike the 40 or so rabbis planning to boycott the AIPAC conference over the appearance on Monday of top GOP contender Donald Trump, Sanders said he couldn’t come because of a scheduling conflict.

“I would very much have enjoyed speaking at the AIPAC conference,” Sanders said in a letter sent Friday (March 18) to AIPAC head Robert Cohen.

“Obviously, issues impacting Israel and the Middle East are of the utmost importance to me, to our country and to the world,” said Sanders, the lone Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders said he was going to be campaigning out West and would have to send a printed copy of his remarks to the 18,000 attendees because AIPAC will not allow speakers to address the Washington conference by video link.


RELATED STORY: Trump is speaking at AIPAC. How should Jews respond?


The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which first reported on Sanders’ letter, noted that AIPAC, a leading pro-Israel organization, has allowed presidential candidates to deliver speeches remotely in past elections — most recently in 2012 when Mitt Romney spoke via satellite.

(David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS)

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  • Doc Anthony

    Neither Sanders nor Clinton are pro-Israel, therefore neither one of them should be giving speeches to the pro-Israel AIPAC.

  • edward

    That is news to me, Doc Anthony. From everything I have seen, they are much more concerned for the well being of Israel than are those other candidates that promote instability so they can make political points.

  • Tom

    Ted Cruz supports Israel 100 percent. Like him or hate him he is completely behind Israel. I am Christian ,but I’m not an Evangelical Christian. I don’t support Israel at all. But I’m sure Ted does.

  • Everett

    And I were AIPAC I wouldn’t care.

  • antiseptic

    Oh please, Clinton is the biggest far of Israel next to Ariel Sharon. And Sanders is a Jew himself, so he will never ever allow Israel to be treated unfairly.

  • Neon Genesis

    Are you kidding? Clinton is the biggest pro Israel warhawk of all the politicians. Try reading something besides Faux News k thx.

  • Suzon Gordon

    Sanders’ presence is irrelevant. What he says is highly relevant, whether it’s written or delivered in person.

    AIPAC is only a vehicle to gain adherents to the present Israeli government’s policies of overrunning and obliterating Palestinian villages so Israel can expand and claim feet on the ground. They’re no longer the only voice in the American Jewish community, and they deserve to be rebutted.

  • Everett

    Bernie is still in the race?