AIPAC has a tradition of inviting all the presidential candidates in election years to the conference. In fact, Donald Trump’s attendance this year has drawn backlash from attendees, some of whom plan to boycott his speech on Monday.
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A petition started by Max Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and a pro-Palestinian writer, had garnered more then 5,000 signatures urging Sanders not to speak at AIPAC. One of the signers is Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, who has endorsed Sanders.
On the other hand, foreign policy writer Robert Naiman wrote an open letter to Sanders encouraging him to speak at AIPAC — urging him to be a “truth-teller” to the group. Naiman is critical of the group’s hard-line pro-Israel stance.
AIPAC lobbies politicians on its pro-Israel agenda and energizes Americans around strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. Its annual conference is a must-stop for politicians every year looking to appear before the influential audience.
The group has also been a source of criticism for the anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian movement in the U.S., as well as other pro-Israel groups who believes AIPAC takes too rigid a stance against the Iran nuclear deal.