Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the 2019 J Street National Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on October 28, 2019.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the 2019 J Street National Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on October 28, 2019. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

'Political Courage': Sanders Will Not Attend AIPAC Conference Over Concern for 'Basic Palestinian Rights'

"You can support the Palestinian and Israeli people without supporting leaders or organizations that oppose the freedom and liberation of the Palestinian people."

Eoin Higgins

Democratic 2020 presidential primary frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders earned the praise of progressives after announcing on Sunday he would not attend the annual AIPAC conference due to his concerns over the group's willingness to endorse the views of bigots and its dismissal of the human rights of Palestinians. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also a candidate for president, announced on February 6 she would not go to the AIPAC conference. 

"The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security," Sanders said Sunday. "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."

"As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders added.

The group hit back, issuing a statement attacking the Vermont senator and accusing him of ignorance about the organization's purpose.

"Sen. Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment," the group said, adding, "By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Sen. Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel."

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan noted that the comments were "the strongest statement AIPAC has ever made against a top presidential candidate."

AIPAC has made no bones over the years of its distaste for Sanders, who declined to attend the conference in person in 2016 over similar concerns about the group's treatment of the Palestinians and its connections to hate groups.

A group loosely affiliated with AIPAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel, ran attack ads against the senator in Iowa and Nevada in January and February.

"The wall of fear protecting AIPAC is cracking and crumbling due to the grass growing down below," said Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah.

Abunimah's remarks were echoed by Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald, who pointed out that both Warren and Sanders rejecting the conference spoke to a broader problem of legitimacy for the organization. 

"That Sanders has the political courage to reject an organization devoted to an apartheid state is yet another positive," said Greenwald. "But AIPAC doesn't mention that Sen. Warren also refused to attend because AIPAC, like Israel, is becoming a far-right rogue outcast.

"You can support the Palestinian and Israeli people without supporting leaders or organizations that oppose the freedom and liberation of the Palestinian people," said activist and Sanders supporter Linda Sarsour.

Progressive Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow called on the rest of the Democratic field to follow Sanders and Warren's example. 

"Bernie's progressive agenda, which is strongly motivated by the Jewish tradition of social justice, has no room in it for the unholy alliance of Islamophobes, antisemites, and white nationalists that AIPAC has worked with in recent years," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch. "We renew our call on every single Democratic candidate to follow the lead of Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and Skip AIPAC and embrace the movement fighting for freedom and dignity."

The Vermont senator's remarks were welcomed by writer Mairav Zonszein.

"For me and many other Israeli and American Jews on the left, Sanders is literally a hero for saying fuck you to AIPAC," said Zonsein.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·

Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·

Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could 'Doom' Hope for Livable Future

"The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases," said one scientist. "The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo