Senate

Kamala Harris meets with AIPAC leaders at her Senate office

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) faced ire from the left wing of her party on Monday after meeting with representatives from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Harris posted a photo of herself with the pro-Israel group’s members at her Washington, D.C., Senate office on Monday, sparking criticism from left-leaning critics who argue that the organization, and support for Israel generally, should be challenged due to the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government.

{mosads}Harris was one of the 2020 Democratic Party contenders who skipped attending AIPAC’s annual convention, prompting some to argue that she had reversed her decision.

“Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat anti-Semitism in our country and around the world,” Harris wrote in the photo caption.

“Far-right Israeli PM Netanyahu just formed an alliance with a literal fascist party, and is bombing people trapped in the Gaza concentration camp right now, but fake ‘progressive’ Kamala Harris is meeting with AIPAC and praising the apartheid regime,” responded progressive journalist Ben Norton in a reply that was favorited more than one thousand times more than Harris’s initial post.

AIPAC has become a hot-button issue for Democrats due to high-profile criticism of the group by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Omar was accused of anti-Semitism by Republicans and some Democrats for her rhetoric about AIPAC and Israel. Omar has since clarified the comments and apologized for using language seen as anti-Semitic, while vowing to continue criticizing U.S. policy toward Israel.

At least nine Democratic candidates confirmed to The Hill or other news outlets that they would skip this year’s AIPAC convention, while progressive groups such as MoveOn.org took aim at the organization directly.

Prominent Democrats including former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken at the conferences in recent years, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a 2020 bid for the presidency, spoke in 2016.

“The influx of progressive candidates confirming they will not attend — even those who have gone in years past — shows how the momentum is shifting,” Iram Ali, campaign director at MoveOn, said in a statement last week. “AIPAC is clearly a partisan lobbying group that has undermined diplomatic efforts, and progressives want no part in it.”

Tags AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee Hillary Clinton Ilhan Omar Joe Biden progressives
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