Fourteen House Democrats traveled to Israel on Monday and expressed their love for the Jewish state — a week after Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that Israel cage Palestinian children.
“Today I’m in Israel with @RepPeteAguilar and @RepJeffries
— to reaffirm our support for a critical US ally and to continue to learn more about the opportunities and challenges facing Israel and the Middle East,” wrote Espaillat, co-chair of the Latino-Jewish Caucus.
Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres was also in attendance.
“I am proud to join my fellow Democrats in meeting with Israeli leaders and affirming, unequivocally, our commitment not only to maintaining but to strengthening US-Israeli relations,” Torres said in a text from the “Land of Milk. and Honey”. .”
Torres lambasted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
“BDS is a fringe movement that fails to represent the overwhelming majority of Americans. Our message is clear: the United States is and always will be a friend of Israel,” he said.
The visit by fellow AOC Democrats comes just days after she was roundly condemned by local Jewish activists for claiming Israel was caging Palestinian children.
“I don’t believe a child should be in a cage on our border, and I don’t believe a child should be in a cage in the West Bank,” the AOC said during a speech at a event of the Democratic Socialists of America. for House candidates in Austin, Texas last week.
An AOC representative later defended his remark, citing Human Rights Watch and other reports that Israel is detaining young Palestinians.
The AOC did not participate in the Congress trip to Israel.
The trip will also include a visit to the disputed West Bank territory to speak to Palestinians, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), who leads the delegation.
“I am pleased once again to join so many House Democrats in traveling to Israel to reaffirm our support for a critical U.S. ally and to continue to learn about the opportunities and challenges facing Israel and the Middle East are facing,” Hoyer said.
“Seeing the region firsthand and meeting key Israeli and Palestinian leaders gives members insight into a region that is vital both to our own national interests and to global security.”
The delegation also meets with senior Israeli and Palestinian government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.
The Congressional group will also meet with Israeli civil society leaders, young Palestinian entrepreneurs and advocates for a two-state solution, Hoyer said.
Members will also visit Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria and visit an Iron Dome missile defense site. The delegation will also visit important historical and cultural sites as well as Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial.
The trip is organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, a non-profit group.
Espaillat, during a recent interview with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, spoke of his close ties to the Jewish community in his district, which includes Washington Heights, Harlem in northern Manhattan and Fordham, Kingsbridge and Norwood in the northwest Bronx.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, he explained how the Dominican Republic was one of the few countries to accept Jewish refugees in the late 1930s during the Holocaust.
Jewish settlers built a community in Sosua that still exists today.
New York Post