Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., gave an off-record speech in which she emphasized the importance of the United States' relationship with Israel, despite Democratic pressure on the country over alleged human rights violations.
Harris, widely seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party and a contender for the 2020 nomination, spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference on Monday. In her speech, which was not recorded, she reportedly emphasized the need for strong ties between the U.S. and Israel, according to The Intercept.
"Sen. Harris spoke in an off-the-record session," AIPAC Director of Communications Beth Robbins told the Intercept.
"Senator Harris addressed a group of students at this year's AIPAC policy conference and participated in a student-led discussion on leadership and public service, the need for a strong U.S.-Israel partnership, and her visit to Israel last year," said Harris' press secretary Tyrone Gayle.
Harris' potential rivals for the 2020 nomination have taken a harder stance on Israel. In November, her fellow California Democratic Sen. Dianna Feinstein organized a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to half the planned demolition of two Palestinian and Bedouin towns. Other signers included Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Dick Durbin of Illinois.
"Instead of forcibly evicting these communities, we encourage your government to fairly re-evaluate Susiya's professionally developed master plan and provide the residents of Khan Al-Ahmar equal building rights. Your government's threats to demolish these communities are particularly distressing in light of the Israeli Civil Administration's efforts to dramatically expand settlements throughout the West Bank," the letter read.
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