Former US Vice President Joe Biden rejected pressure from a coalition of left-wing groups to have presidential candidates boycott the Israel lobby AIPAC’s policy conference, JTA reported on Monday.
An activist with IfNotNow, the group that is leading the initiative, confronted Biden in New Hampshire and cast her question in the context of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The activist noted that Biden led the effort to get Congress not to reject the agreement while the American Israel Public Affairs Committee endeavored to scuttle it.
“No, because I’m there to convince. Convince them to change their position,” replied Biden in a video of the encounter posted by IfNotNow on Twitter.
Biden’s stance is different than that of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who last week indicated she would skip the AIPAC conference next month and did not push back against questionable assertions about the lobby.
Of those who have been asked by IfNotNow, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he would not object to attending while former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he would have to check his schedule, according to JTA.
Buttigieg and Sanders were among several Democratic presidential hopefuls who declined to speak at last year’s AIPAC conference.
The AIPAC conference takes place in the days leading up to Super Tuesday, the sweep of 15 or so primaries, but in the past candidates busy on the campaign trail have made time to address the conference via video link.