Benny Gantz, Mike Pence addressing AIPAC confab’s second day

Benny Gantz, Mike Pence addressing AIPAC confab’s second day

Netanyahu to leave Washington early, canceling appearance at summit, after Monday morning Gaza rocket attack on central Israel; watch the live-stream

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday went into the second day of its annual Policy Conference in Washington, which brings some 18,000 participants and hundreds of officials and lawmakers to a three-day confab of debates and discussions in the American capital on advancing the US-Israel relationship.

Monday morning was featuring addresses from US Vice President Mike Pence, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, former US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Later Monday, at the evening “general session,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will speak to the attendees, as will several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, including the leader of the Senate’s Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and the head of the House’s Republicans, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

Watch the live-stream above.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his Tuesday appearance at the event to head back to Israel after rocket fire from Gaza left seven people wounded in a central Israeli village on Monday morning.

AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr addresses the Policy Conference in Washington on March 24, 2019. (Screen capture/AIPAC)

On Sunday, the conference heard Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, former senator Joe Lieberman and TV host and author Meghan McCain, daughter of the late senator John McCain.

The heads of state of Cape Verde, Honduras and Romania also spoke.

Tuesday will bring addresses by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer speaks at AIPAC’s policy conference, March 24, 2019 (AIPAC screenshot)

AIPAC made headlines recently when freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, insinuated last month that lobbyists with AIPAC were paying lawmakers to support Israel. Her remark drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from Pelosi, and Omar ended up apologizing for her comments.

Since then a number of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates said they would not attend. AIPAC’s policy is that presidential candidates are invited to speak only in election years. However, candidates have in past years circulated at the conference and have held private parlors to meet with activists.

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