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Rabbis, Jewish leaders to boycott Trump at AIPAC summit

Jewish religious leaders and rabbis are planning to boycott Donald Trump’s upcoming speech to a major pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, accusing the Republican frontrunner of encouraging “bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.”

The controversial candidate is scheduled to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Monday night.

Rabbis David Paskin and Jesse Olitzky have organized the “Come Together Against Hate” campaign to protest Trump’s speech.

“This is not about policies, this is not about parties, this is about one particular person, Donald Trump, who has encouraged and incited violence at his campaign rallies,” said Paskin, a rabbi in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “We are against the hatred, the incitement of hatred, the ugliness that has engulfed this political season.”

The group said they have galvanized more than 300 rabbis and other Jewish leaders to attend the AIPAC conference to signal their condemnation of Trump’s divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“At the conference, we will be distributing thousands of stickers and flyers to encourage as many people as possible to follow our lead,” the group said. “Many will be standing up before he speaks and silently leaving the room. Others will be absenting themselves from his introduction as well.”

Trump, who has never held elected office, is currently leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including disparaging remarks about women, Mexican immigrants and Muslims.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC, on March 2, 2015. (AFP photo)

Almost all White House hopefuls have been confirmed to speak before AIPAC, along with Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The summit is considered a must-stop for politicians seeking to bolster their pro-Israel credentials.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish contender in the race, has declared that he will not attend the annual conference.

AIPAC is the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group focused on strengthening the US-Israel relationship and encouraging members of Congress to support its agenda.

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