Pro-Israel lobby group holds high-profile Washington conference


The main pro-Israel lobby group in the United States opened a three-day conference on Sunday set to feature top U.S. and Israeli politicians, as the organisation has been firmly in the spotlight in recent weeks due to controversies.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference features speakers from both major U.S. political parties, including Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the top Democrat in Congress.

This year's conference, to be attended by thousands, takes place under the shadow of rising partisanship in the U.S. over Israel, with the left-wing of the Democratic Party increasingly sceptical of Washington's decades-long close support for the Israeli government.  

Progressives in the U.S. from the MoveOn group have called on the Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election to shun AIPAC, highlighting the shift.  

Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, was at the centre of a recent spat over alleged anti-Semitism after she said AIPAC's fundraising was a driver of policy and also hinted at a problem of dual loyalties.

Omar has denied all allegations of anti-Semitism and has written in support of the two-state solution, but remains a leading critic of Israel on Capitol Hill.    (dpa)

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