Bloomberg to speak at AIPAC conference

Bloomberg to speak at AIPAC conference
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White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg will speak at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference next week in a rebuke of calls from progressives for 2020 contenders to avoid the event.

AIPAC announced Tuesday that the former New York City mayor, one of two Jewish candidates running in the Democratic primary, will speak live at its annual confab.

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Bloomberg’s attendance at the pro-Israel group’s conference draws a contrast with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump team pounces on Biden gaffes The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic MORE (I-Vt.), the other Jewish candidate who is now the primary field’s front-runner.

Sanders said this week he would skip the conference over AIPAC’s connection to "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights," an apparent reference to the current administration of Israel headed by Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE.

"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 said Sunday. 

Sanders, a staunch progressive, has hammered AIPAC and Netanyahu in the past and has referred to the prime minister as a "right-wing politician" and his government as "racist."

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AIPAC has emerged as a chief target of progressive groups, with many slamming its strong support for Netanyahu’s government and President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE’s policies toward Israel.

IfNotNow, a progressive group focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hammered Bloomberg's decision to speak at AIPAC.

"Mike Bloomberg is attending the AIPAC Conference to join his fellow Republicans who are out-of-touch with where the vast majority of American Jews are when it comes to Israel and Palestinian human rights. Bloomberg is a racist billionaire trying to buy the election. Proudly speaking at AIPAC is in line with Bloomberg's outrageous and shameful campaign strategy — no other Democratic candidates should join him on that stage," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch, apparently referring to Bloomberg's past support for stop and frisk.

Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-funding his campaign, used to be a registered Republican.

The remaining Democratic presidential hopefuls have yet to confirm their attendance at the AIPAC conference.