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Sanders won't attend AIPAC conference, accuses it of providing platform for 'bigotry'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief says congressional progressives looking to become stronger force in 2021 Obama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Americans have a choice: Socialized medicine or health care freedom MORE (I-Vt.) blasted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Sunday in a statement confirming that he would not attend the pro-Israel organization's annual conference.

Sanders tweeted that he would not attend the conference due to AIPAC's connection to "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights," an apparent reference to the current administration of Israel headed by Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE, whom Sanders has repeatedly criticized in the past.

"The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference," he wrote.

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"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 continued.

Sanders, who is Jewish, has criticized both AIPAC and Netanyahu in the past and has referred to Netanyahu as a "right-wing politician" and his government as "racist."

"I am not anti-Israel. But the fact of the matter is Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly," Sanders said last year during a town hall event hosted by CNN.

"What I believe is not radical. I just believe that the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis," he added at the time.

AIPAC officials responded on Sunday to Sanders's remarks, pointing out that he has never attended the conference in the past and decrying the "odious" accusations as "truly shameful."