Politics

4 Democratic Presidential Candidates Have Spoken At AIPAC Before — None Will This Year

Photo by Ethan Miller Getty Images & Photo by Ethan Miller Getty Images & Photo by Amy E. Price Getty Images for SXSW

Mike Brest Reporter

Four Democratic presidential candidates — California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — have previously spoken at AIPAC events, but are not scheduled to do so during next week’s conference after a progressive organization called for a boycott.

Harris has spoken to AIPAC on at least two occasions. Last year, she spoke in an off-the-record breakout session, The Intercept reported. She also spoke the year before publicly.

“I stand with Israel because of our shared values, which are so fundamental to the founding of both our nations. I believe the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and we can never let anyone drive a wedge between us,” Harris said, during AIPAC’s 2017 conference.

Klobuchar, who has been silent about her plans surrounding this year’s AIPAC conference, was interviewed by Claire Shipman at the event last year.

“The last thing I would say is just the importance of taking on anti-Semitism across the world because we’re going to have trouble getting allies against Iran if we just let that fester,” she said during the interview. “And that means the 100 senators adjoin together to push back at the U.N. for the anti-Semitism that we have seen there, and it also means securing ourselves internationally, but at home.”

Gillibrand, another presidential candidate who won’t be in attendance next week, took part in an AIPAC panel with late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Israeli Air Force general Amos Yadlin.

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Booker, who has not shared his plans on the upcoming conference publicly, spoke at an event with Rabbi Shmuley back in 2010.

Many other Democratic candidates revealed that they wouldn’t attend the annual AIPAC event after progressive group MoveOn called for the boycott the day before. Others who have announced they will not attend this year’s conference include South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete ButtigiegMassachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenVermont Sen. Bernie SandersFormer HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. (RELATED: Progressive Organization Calls For 2020 Dems To Boycott AIPAC And Many Are)

MoveOn cited four reasons for the boycott:

  • AIPAC advocated against the Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • One of the speakers is Netanyahu, who was indicted earlier this year.
  • AIPAC has “been known to peddle anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to Islamophobes.”
  • AIPAC “has refused to condemn the antisemitism of Republicans,” and they specifically called out Steve Bannon.

Gillibrand, Harris, Klobuchar and Booker’s offices did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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