“Democratic candidates used to be proud to stand alongside Israel, and AIPAC,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the recent gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). “Now some are jockeying to see who can get the farthest away.”
McConnell was referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who denounced the pro-Israel lobby for providing a platform “for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights” when he announced on February 23 that he would not be attending the annual conference.
Sanders’s move was very significant, but he was not alone. Former Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren had first announced she would skip the conference earlier in February. After Sanders’s announcement, something remarkable happened — fellow Democratic candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who are far more moderate and typically pro-Israel in their politics, announced they would also skip the conference (before ending their presidential bids before Super Tuesday, at any rate).