Jewish leaders rally against Trump's 'hate' speech at AIPAC conference

by Alfonso Matthews Marcha 21, 2016, 14:44

Citing his campaign schedule, Bernie Sanders said he would not address AIPAC's conference next week, making him the only presidential candidate that will not attend the large annual pro-Israel gathering this year.

A group of rabbis and Jewish leaders called "Come Together Against Hate" is expected to protest Trump's speech.

"This is not a statement about AIPAC, this is a statement against hatred and incitement of hatred", said Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, who with Rabbi David Paskin of Florida created a Facebook group to organize the protest.

Breaking with a long-standing American political tradition - particularly among Republicans - of full-throated support of Israel as an ally, Trump has said he would use his skills as a negotiator in tackling the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

As America's leading pro-Israel group prepares to hear from almost all the presidential candidates, most eyes in the crowd of thousands of participants will be on Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

"We can quietly protest about what he said about women, Mexicans, Muslims and reporters - whom he hates as much as Mexicans", he said.

Much like the American electorate at large, the pro-Israel community in the United States is anything but monolithic, and this year's conference appears set to highlight those different constituencies, including socially liberal Democratic Jews, establishment Republican Jews, and conservative evangelical Christians.

"Shame on the protesting rabbis with #AIPAC".

The rabbis have said they do not fault AIPAC for inviting Trump. The candidates will make their case about why they feel they are the best for Israel.

Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for comment, but yesterday Trump told ABC News that his remarks will focus on brokering a Middle East peace deal.

The boycotting rabbis are concerned about Trump's attitudes towards Israel as well as his praise for authoritarian leaders.

The annual conference in Washington is considered a practically unmissable stop for presidential hopefuls: Both of Trump's remaining rivals for the GOP nomination, Texas Sen.

He's also engaged in "cringe-worthy" stereotypes, said Rosenbaum, pointing to Trump's quips about Jews and money at the event.

On the matter, some of the students received an email earlier this week from AIPAC warning that if they disrupted the speech, they would have their conference access revoked. Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have also confirmed their attendance.

Last year, a public spat between Democratic President Barack Obama and right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal led to a number of Democratic lawmakers boycotting a speech by Netanyahu before Congress. Sanders, who is Jewish, was the first senator to announce that he would not be attending the speech.

The American Jewish Committee condemned "presidential campaign violence", but did not specifically name Trump.

"I've been thinking about that Margaret Thatcher quote where she said something like, 'I love when they attack me personally because it means they don't have a political argument left", she was quoted as telling the magazine.

"Unlike other candidates, he doesn't measure his words so carefully and he speaks off the cuff", he said, adding that Trump brings a businessman's penchant for setting broad directives and letting experts work out the details.

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