WASHINGTON – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee apologized on Saturday for publishing an advertisement that accused the Democratic Party of anti-Semitism. The organization said the ad, which appeared on Facebook last week, had been taken down.
AIPAC, the leading lobby group supporting Israel in the United States, offered a full-fledged apology in a statement. “We offer our unequivocal apology to the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress who are rightfully offended by the inaccurate assertion that the poorly worded, inflammatory advertisement implied,” it said.
The Facebook ad in question last week blamed “radicals in the Democratic Party” for “pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people,” and called on Americans not to abandon Israel, their “only Democratic ally in the Middle East.”
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Saturday’s apology came after the organization faced criticism for publishing an ad that contradicts AIPAC’s stated emphasis on bipartisanship.
“We deeply appreciate the broad and reliable support that Democrats in Congress have consistently demonstrated for Israel. The bipartisan consensus that Democrats and Republicans have established on this issue forms the foundation of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the statement said.
The ad, which leads to a petition against reducing U.S. military aid to Israel, is currently listed as inactive and was viewed by some 30,000 people, according to Facebook’s publicly available data.
“The ad, which is no longer running, alluded to a genuine concern of many pro-Israel Democrats about a small but growing group, in and out of Congress, that is deliberately working to erode the bipartisan consensus on this issue and undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the AIPAC apology read.
On Friday, in response to a question from Haaretz, a spokesperson for AIPAC explained that the ad was intended to target Democratic supporters of AIPAC and was well received by that particular audience.
“We regret that the ad’s imprecise wording distorted our message and offended many who are deeply committed to this cause. We look forward to continuing our work with friends in Congress to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and oppose any efforts to undermine its deep, bipartisan support,” AIPAC’s apology concluded.