Mike Bloomberg to address AIPAC conference

Former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful to speak at AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC.

Elad Benari ,

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg

Former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg will speak at next week’s AIPAC policy conference, the group confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday.

The announcement comes two days after Senator Bernie Sanders, one of Bloomberg’s rivals in the race for the Democratic nomination, announced he would boycott the AIPAC conference and used harsh words when doing so.

“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 tweeted.

“As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region,” he added.

Sanders’ comments were condemned by AIPAC, which fired back at the Vermont Senator and said, “By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful.”

Sanders was also criticized by Jason Greenblatt, the former US envoy to the Middle East, who tweeted Sunday night, “Outrageous, shocking statement; wrong on so many levels; shows a total disregard for Israel & complete lack of understanding of the conflict & the very serious security challenges Israel faces. Bernie Sanders & staff should attend AIPAC conference not to speak but to listen/learn!”

The Vermont Senator’s decision not to attend AIPAC is in line with that of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who indicated she would skip the AIPAC conference and did not push back against questionable assertions about the lobby.

Other Democratic presidential candidates have not yet confirmed their attendance at the conference, though former Vice President Joe Biden rejected pressure to skip the conference.

Also scheduled to speak at the AIPAC conference are Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pence on Tuesday took a swipe at Sanders over Sanders' refusal to attend the bipartisan conference.

"Looking forward to addressing AIPAC next week to share everything our Admin has accomplished for the people of Israel! Unlike distasteful comments by Bernie Sanders, AIPAC provides a bipartisan platform for strengthening the ties & protecting the bond between America & Israel," Pence tweeted.