Scenes from AIPAC: Politicians speak at pro-Israel conference

  • An attendee of the AIPAC conference checks his phone in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, March 21, 2016.
  • Donald Trump holds a news conference on March 21, 2016 at his hotel which is under construction in Washington, DC.
  • Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, appears on stage at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 21, 2016.
  • Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, appears on stage at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 21, 2016.
  • AIPAC attendees welcome Governor John Kasich to the stage at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 21, 2016.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to AIPAC attendees on March 22, 2016 via live video feed.
  • Donald Trump is reflected on glass as he speaks at AIPAC, March 21, 2016.
  • Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media in Washington, DC, on March 22, 2016.
  • A protester stands outside the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC.
  • People gather for the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC, March 20, 2016.
  • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference in Washington, DC, will be held from March 20-22 this year. 
  • AIPAC attendees gather at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, on March 20, 2016.
  • “Free Palestine” demonstrators block the front door to the AIPAC conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, March 20, 2016.
  • A woman takes a break at the AIPAC conference in Washingoton, DC, March 20, 2016.
  • Demonstrators try to disrupt the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington, DC, March 20, 2016.
  • Security was tight at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, where several protesters picketed outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
  • “Free Palestine” demonstrators block the front door of Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the AIPAC conference will be held March 20-22, 2016.
  • A masked protester in front of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the AIPAC conference is being held, March 20, 2016.
  • Inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the AIPAC Sunday night session in Washington, DC.
  • Vice President Joe Biden addresses the audience at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 20, 2016.

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) gathered thousands from the pro-Israel movement for an annual three day conference in Washington, D.C. that began Sunday. AIPAC, the bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, invited all of the current presidential candidates to speak at the conference. The lobbying group specifically encourages pro-Israel activists across the country to politically engage with members of Congress to promote a strong relationship between the United States and Israel.

All presidential candidates have accepted to speak at AIPAC, except for Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders expressed his regret in a letter, adding he would discuss similar issues in a foreign policy speech in a Utah campaign event on Monday as he would have at AIPAC. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the first of the presidential hopefuls to speak at AIPAC on Monday, affirming her dedicated support for Israel if she is elected president. The remaining Republican candidates, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, will speak during the conference’s evening session Monday, with remarks from GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, as well. 

These photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work “Political Theater” which examines the landscape of the American political system.

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