Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign
Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign
Candidates bow to pressure on AIPAC
Succumbing to grassroots pressure, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg both announced Wednesday that they would not attend the Israel lobby's meeting this year, making them the latest two Democratic presidential candidates to decline an invitation to address the conference.
Jewish-led group IfNotNow credited its #SkipAIPAC campaign—which it's leading with MoveOn, Indivisible, and the Working Families Party—as well as years of public pressure from defenders of Palestinians' human rights—with convincing Buttigieg and Klobuchar to skip the conference.
"This is a watershed moment and a major victory against the bigotry that AIPAC has legitimized for decades," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch. "Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity."
"Because of grassroots pressure, the tide is turning," IfNotNow tweeted.
"It always was that, but its mask has finally fallen and it's now widely recognized as such," Greenwald tweeted.
Democrats as well as Republicans have for decades attended the annual policy conference led by AIPAC, which supports the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.
"Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity."
Tuesday, seven IfNotNow members were arrested at former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign headquarters in Philadelphia for holding a public action there. Biden and businessman Tom Steyer have not committed to skipping the AIPAC conference, and IfNotNow called former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is set to speak at the meeting, a "lost cause."
MoveOn said it was encouraged by the commitments of the four Democratic candidates.
"MoveOn members are excited that Democratic candidates are listening to the grassroots majority that supports peace and diplomacy over disastrous wars of choice," said senior political advisor Dan Kalik. "Thank you Senators Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete for standing by your values and choosing to #SkipAIPAC. No candidates should be pandering to AIPAC, which spent millions in an attempt to defeat the Iran Nuclear Deal and continues to give a platform to Islamophobes and bigots."
With a growing number of major political figures refusing to align with the anti-Palestinian rights lobby, IfNotNow is also focused on ending the U.S. government's support for the Israeli military's occupation.
"It is time to end the blank check and for our tax dollars to stop funding the Israeli occupation," said Moscovitch.
Iowa Field Organizers
- Celeste Banda - Storm Lake
- Michael Beaudet - Burlington (Des Moines, Lee and Van Buren Cos.)
- Elizabeth Byrnes-Mandelbaum - Muscatine
- Andrew Chang - Davenport
- Shalini Chilukuri - Council Bluffs
- Ishmael Cody-Harvell - Davenport
- Stephen Dee - West Des Moines
- Gabrielle Finlayson - University of Iowa
- Julia Hamelburg - Clinton
- Samuel Hanoura - Adams, Taylor, Union, Ringgold Cos.
- Analese Hauber - Iowa State University
- Lizzy Heurich - Council Bluffs
- Claudia Huang - Des Moines
- Lindsey Hunt - Cedar Rapids
- Takur Jackson - Adams, Taylor, Union, Cass, Ringgold Cos.
- Amir Jones - Waterloo
- Christian C. Lewis - Cedar Rapids
- Kirk Linam - Spencer
- Peter Lopez - Maquoketa
- Clare Magalener - Tama, Benton Cos.
- Tyler Mathews
- Emily Michael - Le Mars
- Jonathan Miller - Davenport
- Jamie Nemzer - Decorah
- Ben Osterlund - Jasper Co.
- Michael Paulson
- Alexander Peffer - Iowa City
- Adam Peters - Iowa City
- Logan Bennett Pillard - Polk Co.
- Aidan Platkin - Mason City
- Sammy Rasin - Decorah
- Caitlin Reedy - Cedar Falls
- Sophie Rivera - North Central Iowa
- Oona Ryle
- Andrew Sacks
- Shannon Sankey - Polk Co.
- Samantha Scott - SE Iowa
- Vianne Kara Singh - Coralville
- Kate Smart
- Madison Smith - Davenport
- Tyler Studebaker
- Ewea Teresa - Davenport
- Quan Trimble - Des Moines
- Lizz Tyler - Dubuque
- Dalia Wrocherinsky - Polk Co.
- Adam Zabner - rural Johnson Co.
- David Zevallos - Mason City