There’s not much that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on these days. Unless you’re talking about bi-partisan support for Israel. They can agree on that. Support for Israel regularly brings people on both sides of the political aisle together as legislators leave their differences at home and work to support America’s closest ally.
That support also shows itself in group trips to Israel. Recently, the largest-ever bi-partisan delegation from the US House of Representatives came to visit Israel and presented a unified voice on the Middle East’s only democracy. But the visit came in the light of some anti-Semitic congresswomen who chose not to join the delegation.
Those notably missing from the delegation were congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez otherwise known as “The Squad.” All have been criticized for inaccurate and often hateful comments about Israel, Jews and Christians.
Talib recently took to the House floor and compared a boycott on Israel to a boycott on Nazi Germany.
“I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government of and the state of Israel … Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment and genocide of Jewish people,” she said.
Because of recent comments by Tlaib and Omar, it appears the US State Department revised its definition of anti-Semitism that now includes “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Leader Kevin Mccarthy led the 41 Democrat and 31 Republican freshmen representatives. They agreed if “The Squad” came with an open mind, they’d learn more about Israel.
“I think if they do that, they’d have a better understanding and better support for the interests of both the Israelis and the Palestinian people, “Hoyer told journalists at a press conference.
“Anyone who comes with open ears, open eyes and an open mind will walk away and have an understanding just as all these members do that this bond is unbreakable,” added McCarthy.
Despite their differences, the two leaders agree that – on the whole – the two parties stand together on their support for Israel and the need to understand the challenges faced by the Jewish State.
“Seventy-two members of Congress united in strong and unwavering support for the State of Israel, its success, its sovereignty and it’s security,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer and Mccarthy spoke of a recently passed House bill which openly condemned the BDS movement and compared it to antisemitism.
The bi-partisan delegation met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and discussed Iran, Israel’s thriving start-up economy, and a two-state solution that could lead to peace.
Hoyer stated said he did not “hear anything new” from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who has boycotted much of the peace process even as Arab nations put pressure on him to participate.
“He indicated that he was prepared to sit down and negotiate without preconditions. Then he referenced a number of preconditions,” Hoyer said.
Several years ago Minority Leader McCarthy started bringing Democrat and Republican members together in Israel through bi-partisan trips.
“I wanted to have some overlap because I don’t want the debate about Israel to be partisan,” he said. “And there seems so many times it’s happening especially in this new Democratic party it’s becoming divided within their own Democratic party. So that’s why this is a very good time that we come together because we have no greater ally, no stronger bond than America with Israel. Unfortunately, this new Democratic party is making this a real challenge.”