Freshman house members stood up against anti-semitism in congress at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference Monday. The bipartisan group included Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Rep. David Trone (D-VA), and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN).
Before taking office, the group traveled to Israel with AIPAC’s Education Foundation. The lawmakers toured the holy sites and met with Israeli officials. They saw the harsh reality of living in a rough neighborhood while seeing communities near Gaza.
In a video posted to Facebook, Crenshaw said “Israel is our partner, it’s the only democracy in the Middle East, we should be supporting it.”
Several House freshman skipped the trip to Israel. A spokesman for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said of her declination, “She wants to make sure that she’s getting a full picture of what daily life is like in the region,”.
On Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who leads the AIPAC-sponsored trip, criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). “This August I will lead what I expect to be the largest delegation ever” to Israel, Hoyer said. “There are 62 freshman Democrats,” he said, “You hear me? 62 — not three.”
Tlaib plans to bring a group of freshman lawmakers to Israel and the West Bank. Tlaib, a Palestinian American, supports the boycott divest and sanctions movement against Israel.
Netanyahu’s Abrupt Return to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his speech via livestream at this year’s Policy Conference. Netanyahu was set to deliver the speech in Washington, however, his trip was cut short after a rocket from Gaza hit an Israeli home early Tuesday. Seven people were injured.
Netanyahu praised President Trump for recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, leaving the Iran Nuclear Deal and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Of AIPAC’s critics, Netanyahu said “From this Benjamin, It’s not about the Benjamins.”