Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) confirmed Friday that he will not attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference, citing scheduling conflicts, CNN reported.
Sanders, the first Jewish politician to ever win a presidential primary, said that his campaign schedule would prevent him from attending the conference. In a letter to the conference’s president, Sanders assured the organization that “issues impacting Israel and the Middle East are of the utmost importance to me, to our country and to the world.”
The candidate’s attendance at the event has been a source of contention, with a petition urging him not to attend the conference, started by pro-Palestinian writer Max Blumenthal, garnering more then 5,000 signatures. Among the signers was Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, who endorsed Sanders.
Upon hearing Sanders would not be attending, Blumenthal took to Twitter, praising Sanders for not sharing the stage with “bigots.”
Sanders is the only remaining 2016 candidate who does not plan to attend the conference. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s attendance at the event has also sparked controversy, with many Jewish leaders urging attendees to boycott his Monday speech.