Friday, August 19, 2011

Congress Members Taken to Task for Summer Visits to Israel - Update**

This has turned into very busy summer for me (not in a good way) so my posting appetite has been in inverse proportion to the huge number of stories out there that would normally fit my self-selected beat. But, have you noticed how headline writers have been falling all over themselves trying to come up with the most numerically sensational figure for the number of congress-folk visiting Israel this summer?

A fifth of all congressmen taking paid-for holidays to Israel this summer

20% of all congressmen are taking vacation in Israel...all paid for by AIPAC

81 congressmen to visit Israel in coming weeks

The congress is in session, it turns Israel

The funniest one, if he had a sense of humor, that is, is Philip Weiss's: "Only 20% of House of Representatives will visit Israel this summer." (Link to Mondoweiss is permanently broken.)

Jesse Jackson, Jr. met Ariel Sharon during a 2003 visit to
Israel. He described that meeting as "warm and insightful."

The congressman who will be getting the most flack for this trip, I imagine, will be Jesse Jackson, Jr. who is already being taken to task by Counterpunch's Vijay Prashad for not following in his famous father's footsteps: "Congressman Jackson is not unaware of the politics of the region. After all, his father, Jesse Senior, has taken an active role in the Middle East affairs, and had once made his own affinity for the Palestinian cause public (1in 1988 he made his support of Palestinian statehood a plank of his campaign, for which I happily worked in Los Angeles). When candidate Obama was building mementum in the primaries, Jesse Senior remarkably said, "Decades of putting Israel's interest first will end. Zionists have controlled American policy for decades and will lose their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House."  

To that, Jesse, Jr. replied, "As the vice-chair of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I've traveled to Israel and seen firsthand the threats to its security. I'm eager to work with the new administration and the new Congress to ensure that Israel remains strong, secure and free."

And when Jesse, Jr. stated that," I particularly look forward to learning more about the latest tools and technology Israel is  using in its fight against terror and its dynamic business and commercial sectors," Prashad countered with,"Israel's most remarkable achievement has been to sell its failure to attain peace as a counter-terrorist success story."

Prashad then chides Jackson for not toeing the party line expressed by the African-Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine who concluded upon their return that,
"The Israeli Occupation and the suppression of Palestinian rights conform to the United Nations definition of Apartheid," and endorsed, "...the international campaign calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in support of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality."

Last year, Normie Finkelstein named Jesse Jr as "part of Washington prostitution ring"
for daring to see the Israeli side of the Mavi Marmara incident.

It will be interesting to note who among the 81 or Ffifth or 20% of congress will get the best/worst coverage for this trip. My guess is Jesse, Jr. will get an earful from that part of the left for whom he is a disappointment and who would prefer to hear a solid knee-jerk condemnation of Israel as befits the scion of Jesse 'Hymietown' Jackson, Jr.

** Update: Check out Adam Holland's takedown of anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein's disgraceful, racist rant about Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s visit to Israel. An example of Silverstein's words:

Jackson, "...knows what he's told to know. And you know who tells him what he knows? His rich pro-Israel Jewish friends in Chicago who are filling his campaign coffers..."

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