Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

IfNotNow credited its #SkipAIPAC campaign with pressuring Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg to skip the anti-Paletinian rights lobby's annual meeting. (Photo: IfNotNow)

'Watershed Moment': Joining Warren and Sanders, Centrist Democrats Klobuchar and Buttigieg Agree to #SkipAIPAC

"Because of grassroots pressure, the tide is turning."

Julia Conley

Succumbing to grassroots pressure, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg both announced Wednesday that they would not attend the Israel lobby's meeting this year, making them the latest two Democratic presidential candidates to decline an invitation to address the conference.

Jewish-led group IfNotNow credited its #SkipAIPAC campaign—which it's leading with MoveOn, Indivisible, and the Working Families Party—as well as years of public pressure from defenders of Palestinians' human rights—with convincing Buttigieg and Klobuchar to skip the conference.

"This is a watershed moment and a major victory against the bigotry that AIPAC has legitimized for decades," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch. "Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity."

"Because of grassroots pressure, the tide is turning," IfNotNow tweeted.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald said the shift away from AIPAC solidifies its status as "a fringe, right-wing, radioactive rogue organization."

"It always was that, but its mask has finally fallen and it's now widely recognized as such," Greenwald tweeted.

Democrats as well as Republicans have for decades attended the annual policy conference led by AIPAC, which supports the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first Democratic presidential candidate this year to announce she would skip the conference, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) earlier this week.

"Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity."
—Dani Moscovitch, IfNotNow
On Tuesday, seven IfNotNow members were arrested at former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign headquarters in Philadelphia for holding a public action there. Biden and businessman Tom Steyer have not committed to skipping the AIPAC conference, and IfNotNow called former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is set to speak at the meeting, a "lost cause." 

MoveOn said it was encouraged by the commitments of the four Democratic candidates.

"MoveOn members are excited that Democratic candidates are listening to the grassroots majority that supports peace and diplomacy over disastrous wars of choice," said senior political advisor Dan Kalik. "Thank you Senators Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete for standing by your values and choosing to #SkipAIPAC. No candidates should be pandering to AIPAC, which spent millions in an attempt to defeat the Iran Nuclear Deal and continues to give a platform to Islamophobes and bigots."

With a growing number of major political figures refusing to align with the anti-Palestinian rights lobby, IfNotNow is also focused on ending the U.S. government's support for the Israeli military's occupation.

"It is time to end the blank check and for our tax dollars to stop funding the Israeli occupation," said Moscovitch.


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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Groups Rip NYC Mayor Over Forced Hospitalizations for Mental Illness

"Forcing people into treatment is a failed strategy," said the head of the NYCLU. "With no real plan for housing, services, or supports, the administration is choosing handcuffs and coercion."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Put Up or Shut Up,' Says Sanders as Progressives Move to Add 7 Sick Days to Railway Deal

"If you can't vote for this," said the independent Vermont senator, "don't tell anybody that you stand with working families."

Jon Queally ·


'Love Wins Again': Senate Passes Bill to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage

"While Congress has taken an important step," said the head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, "it is incumbent on all of us to continue to push for passage of the comprehensive Equality Act."

Jessica Corbett ·


Groups Blast Biden for 'Siding With Billionaires Over Rail Workers'

As criticism of the president's position mounts, some members of Congress are speaking out in support of including at least seven days of paid sick leave in any measure they pass.

Jessica Corbett ·


'A Very Good Day for Our Republic' as Key Jan. 6 Insurrectionist Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy

"Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible," said one former federal prosecutor after Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo