AIPAC criticizes Trump

In a rare statement unrelated to Israel or the Middle East, pro-Israel PAC slams 'moral equivalence' between sides at violent Virginia rally

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JTA and Arutz Sheva Staff,

AIPAC 2017 conference
AIPAC 2017 conference
Arutz Sheva

In a rare statement unrelated to Israel or the Middle East, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee implicitly rebuked President Donald Trump for what it considered to be drawing an equivalence between the sides in the Charlottesville clash last weekend.

“AIPAC shares the outrage and deep concern of our fellow Americans about the inexcusable violence and sickening displays of racism and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville this weekend,” the prominent Israel lobbying group said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“The vile hatred expressed by neo-Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists must be categorically and unambiguously rejected. We urge all elected officials to reject moral equivalence and oppose between those who promote hate and those who oppose it. There must be no quarter for bigotry in our country.”

Our statement on #Charlottesville: pic.twitter.com/1mvdnBSBnK

— AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 17, 2017

AIPAC rarely pronounces issues not related to Israel and almost never issues statements that at least do not tangentially relate to the Middle East. In another departure from its custom, its leadership in 2016 rebuked then-candidate Trump for attacking a sitting president, Barack Obama, during its annual conference.

About 500 people associated with far-right movements met in Charlottesville, Virginia, over last weekend to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Some bore Nazi flags and others chanted Nazi, anti-Semitic and racist slogans, but they had a permit for the demonstration. Some of the protesters were armed, and many were in uniforms.

A large contingent of redical left counterprotesters witout a permit also turned out, and there were some physical clashes. Although they did not bear Nazi flags, the organizations they represented are virulently anti-Zionist. The weekend turned deadly when a car allegedly driven by a far-rightist rammed into a group of counterprotesters, killing local resident Heather Heyer and wounding at least 20 others.

President Trump has denied drawing a moral equivalence between the victim of the ramming attack and the Neo-Nazi who murdered her.

Referring to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and the woman killed during the violence, Trump tweeted, "Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists.........and people like Ms. Heyer."