New WH Press Secretary Urged Democrats to Skip Pro-Israel AIPAC Karine Jean-Pierre (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 06 May 2022 09:34 AM
President Joe Biden's next press secretary once called on Democrat presidential candidates to boycott the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual convention.
Karine Jean-Pierre, a former official of the activist MoveOn group, on Thursday was named to replace Jen Psaki as White House press secretary. Jean-Pierre will become the first Black woman and first openly LGBTQ person in the job.
In 2019, Jean-Pierre endorsed pressure by MoveOn on Democratic Party presidential candidates to boycott the annual AIPAC conference.
"When it comes down to it, AIPAC's policies are not progressive policies. AIPAC's values are not progressive values," Pierre wrote in a Newsweek opinion column at the time. "It's time to call a spade a spade."
Jean-Pierre wrote that AIPAC and the Trump administration had "sabotaged" the Iran nuclear deal crafted by former President Barack Obama, and she slammed the group for asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be its headline speaker.
She also said the AIPAC's "severely racist, Islamophobic rhetoric has proven just as alarming. The organization has become known for trafficking in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while lifting up Islamophobic voices and attitudes."
AIPAC, historically non-partisan, recently launched a PAC to directly support pro-Israel candidates for the first time. The PAC has given money to more Republicans than Democrats, and has drawn criticism for giving to GOP lawmakers who backed objections to certifying Biden's 2020 election victory, The Times of Israel reported.
However, the PAC also is supporting the House Democrats' leadership and nearly half of the party's progressive caucus.
The Times of Israel reported that in April 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jean-Pierre shared a viral photo of Jewish and Muslim paramedic partners praying together in Israel.
"Thank you both for your selflessness, and for this inspiring show of humanity," she tweeted.
Jean-Pierre currently is principal deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to the president. She's a long-time adviser to Biden, having served in senior communication and political roles in the Biden Administration, the Biden campaign, and to then-Vice President Biden in the Obama Administration.
"Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people," Biden said in a statement announcing her promotion to press secretary.
Psaki's last day as press secretary is May 13.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.