Delegation to tour Israel’s borders and meet with Israeli and Palestinian leadership; PM gives talk on Iran and bilateral ties; Netanyahu: We are living in revolutionary times; Hoyer: Seeing the region firsthand… gives Members insights into a region that is vital both to our national interests and to global security.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed 41 U.S. Congressional Democrats to Israel on Thursday, the delegation led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. The delegation will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials over the coming days as well. In Israel, they will tour and meet with Israeli MK’s, including the opposition leader, Benny Gantz, of the Blue and White party. They will also see an Iron Dome battery, visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum, as well as tour Israel’s northern and Gaza borders.
On the delegation’s visit and itinerary, Hoyer released a statement, “I am pleased to join so many House Democrats in traveling to Israel to reaffirm our support for a critical U.S. ally and to continue learning about the opportunities and the challenges facing Israel and the Middle East… Seeing the region firsthand and meeting with key Israeli and Palestinian leaders gives Members insights into a region that is vital both to our own national interests and to global security.”
Addressing the group, Prime Minister Netanyahu focused on strengthening bilateral ties with the United States, as well as “exceptional revolution taking place in Israel’s position in the world.” He reportedly gave a detailed presentation focused on the growing threat of nuclear Iran and its proxies. He stated Thursday from Jerusalem, “There’s something that I want to put forward to you for a brief moment so that you can understand the broader story of Israel which is not understood and seldom told. There is an exceptional revolution taking place in Israel’s position in the world. And secondly, is Israel’s place in the revolution that is happening in the world. We are living in revolutionary times.”
He added, “We’re forging new agreements, 300 agreements in three years. Given that we have a lot of holidays here, that’s about one agreement every two days. Something very, very big is happening here.”
Anti-Israel and pro-BDS Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will also visit Israel this August, their tour, however, to focus on the “occupation” and Israel’s claimed racist policies. Tlaib is Palestinian and frequently uses her personal stories and anti-Israel rhetoric to demonize the State of Israel. Omar has been just as critical of Israel and has resorted to openly using anti-Semitic tropes.
The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement this month. The vast majority, 398, voted in favor of the resolution with 17 voting against and five abstaining.
The BDS movement claims through boycotting, divesting and sanctioning the State of Israel they will pressure the Israeli government to end its “siege” of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. It accuses Israel of colonialism, genocide, apartheid, occupation and war crimes, among many others. This is supported and promoted by misleading statistics, lies and biased and inaccurate reporting on Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.
Israel has a ban on BDS activists and authorities from entering Israel, which led to reports that Tlaib and Omar would be denied entry to Israel. Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, last week confirmed they would be permitted entry, as would all members of the U.S. Congress, out of respect and because of “the great alliance between Israel and America.”