U.S. Democrats stand and clap for Netanyahu

Congressional members tweet little about Israel trip.

By
August 8, 2019 03:45
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a meeting with a delegation of 41 US House Democrats in

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a meeting with a delegation of 41 US House Democrats in Israel. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke might call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist,” but a delegation of 41 US House Democrats stood and clapped for him at the end of a two-hour meeting on Wednesday.

The delegation, led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and sponsored by an AIPAC-affiliated charity, met Netanyahu in the evening in the Foreign Ministry, after spending much of the morning in Ramallah and a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. They also clapped for Abbas when he left the room.

According to a participant in the meeting with Netanyahu, the prime minister opened with a powerpoint presentation that dealt with a wide range of issues, including Iran. He said that while Israel’s position in the world has undergone a “revolution,” and while Israel has a hand in the “revolution” changing the world, the country is badly “misrepresented.”

The meeting went on for some two hours, with most of it taken up by questions and answers. While the diplomatic process was a major focus, no questions – according to a participant – were asked about the settlements, Netanyahu’s relationship with US President Donald Trump, or the Nation-State Law.



The delegation came to the Foreign Ministry from Ramallah, where Abbas – who is boycotting the Trump administration – presented his perspective.

According to the Palestinian WAFA news service, Abbas told the delegation that he rejected “American dictates and decisions regarding Jerusalem, refugees, borders and security.” He reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution.

According to the report, the delegation also expressed its “full support” for a two-state solution. Abbas accused Israel of not respecting bilateral agreements “signed under international auspices and insists on destroying them, which prompted the Palestinian leadership to decide to stop these agreements.”

No list of the participants has been made available, though Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted that the delegation includes 32 freshmen. Hoyer tweeted on Monday that the entire delegation numbers 41 representatives, meaning that all but nine of them are first-time representatives. There are 62 freshman Democrats in the 435-member House of Representatives.

The delegation members themselves have hardly left any footprint of their visit on social media, fueling speculation that they want to avoid trolls and backlash from radical left-wing groups.

One such group, Code Pink, has been urging followers to write and petition the freshman representatives to “skip the trip” that it says aims to “whitewash Israeli apartheid.”

Hoyer tweeted on Monday that he was leading the trip, but by Wednesday evening had not added anything new to his Twitter account about the trip.

The Twitter feeds of a number of other members of the delegation made no mention at all of the trip, though they were tweeting, while in Israel, about the death of author Toni Morrison, the 54th anniversary of president Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act, and the carnage in El Paso and Dayton.

A couple of the delegates did, however, issue a press release before leaving that was placed on their web pages.

For instance, Antonio Delgado, an African-American representative from New York, wrote: “My wife and I are raising our young boys in the Jewish faith, grounding them in an understanding of respect for all religions and with a deep appreciation for Jewish history and traditions. We are traveling to Israel, one of America’s closest allies, with fellow members of Congress, in order to better understand the history of the region, grow our own personal connection to the Jewish faith and hear directly from Israelis and Palestinians who experience the complex dynamics on the ground every day.”

And the website of Max Rose, another congressman from New York, read:

“I’m excited to return to Israel as the first Jewish congressman from Staten Island. I want to thank Leader Hoyer for this opportunity to educate my fellow freshmen about the challenges facing the region as we continue working towards finding lasting peace through a two-state solution. It’s important to reaffirm our solidarity with Israel and commitment to the Israel-US relationship, particularly in the face of rising antisemitism worldwide and shared threats to our mutual security.”


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