PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu waves at the crowd at the AIPAC Policy Conference in 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the AIPAC policy conference in Washington next month, the organization announced Saturday night on the heels of a rare condemnation issued by the group.
Netanyahu will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference two weeks before Israelis head to the polls,
and will likely use the opportunity to meet with United States President Donald Trump, who is expected to release his peace plan for the Middle East shortly after the elections
In the lead-up to the April 9 vote, Netanyahu helped broker an agreement between the Bayit Yehudi and Otzma Yehudit parties to shore up the right-wing bloc. Otzma Yehudit is an offshoot of a racist political movement that has been designated a terrorist organization abroad and banned from Knesset lists since the 1980s.
“We agree with AJC,” AIPAC stated in a Twitter post on Friday, after the American Jewish Committee decried the move. “AIPAC has a long-standing policy not to meet with members of this racist and reprehensible party.”
While Otzma has never outwardly promoted violence, the party is an offshoot of the Kahanist movement, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahanists consider Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel to be enemies of the state, and supports replacing Israel’s democratic government with a theocratic structure.
AIPAC also confirmed that former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will address the forum, which will take place March 24-26.
Michael Wilner and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
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