The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Tuesday blasted Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump over his remarks criticizing President Obama during a speech at an AIPAC conference.
The billionaire candidate addressed the annual Washington gathering Monday night, and criticized Obama, who he said “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me.”
That didn’t go down well with the leaders of the pro-Israel group.
“We say unequivocally that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the United States of America from our stage,” said AIPAC president Lillian Pinkus said on Tuesday in a written statement at the conference, according to Politico. “While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States and our president, Barack Obama.”
She also castigated attendees who responded positively to Trump’s remarks on President Obama.
“There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night, and for that, we are deeply sorry,” Pinkus continued. “We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone.”
During Trump’s remarks he said that Obama has treated Israel “very, very badly.”
Trump’s speech at AIPAC put the group in an awkward position for many reasons. His harsh rhetoric has prompted consternation among American Jews, many of whom see echoes of Holocaust-era anti-Semitism in his attacks on Muslims and immigrants. Ahead of the conference, supporters of Israel were concerned about his previously stated plans to take a neutral position in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“Let us take this moment to pledge to each other that in this divisive and tension-filled political season, we will not allow those who wish to divide our movement from the left or from the right will not succeed in doing so,” Pinkus concluded.
Trump says Obama has been bad for Israel, yet he didn’t say how. In 2013, Obama was honored with Israel’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Distinction, during a ceremonial dinner held in the President’s honor at the Israeli president’s residence.
The Washington Times reported at the time:
The medal recognizes Mr. Obama’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s security, and it is the first time in which an Israeli president has bestowed such an honor on a sitting president. Mr. Obama gave Mr. Peres, a lifetime Israeli politician who twice served as prime minister of the country, the U.S. President’s Medal of Freedom last year.
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