Democratic presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg have announced they will not attend AIPAC’s annual conference next week because it overlaps with Super Tuesday, JTA reported on Wednesday.
The announcement means that former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg will be the only Democratic candidate to confirm that he will speak at the policy conference, in Washington, D.C. The event draws some 18,000 people each year.
Super Tuesday, on March 3, will feature nominating contests in 14 states and likely will be a make-or-break day for several candidates. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, are among those battling for the right to challenge President Donald Trump in November.
Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders who is currently the frontrunner 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.”
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.
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are scheduled to speak at the AIPAC conference.
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.