February 25, 2020
AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, confirmed on Monday that both US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will speak at the AIPAC policy conference next week.
Also speaking will be the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
Other US lawmakers scheduled to address the annual policy conference include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The announcements come a day after Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders announced he would boycott the AIPAC conference and had harsh words for it.
"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!"
Sanders has repeatedly criticized the Israeli government, most recently last week when he asserted that it is racist.