icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
11 Aug, 2011 21:44

One-fifth of Congress takes a vacation to Israel

Thankfully that whole “debt thing” is over and congressmen can move onto more important things. Top of the list, you ask? Pandering to one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, all while enjoying a paid vacation.

Over 80 lawmakers — one-fifth of all of the House of Representatives — will be using their summer recess to spend some time in Israel thanks to an excursion being outlined by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Self-described as “America’s leading pro-Israel lobby,” 55 Republicans and 26 Democrats will be flying overseas too see what all the hubbub is about.At such perfect timing too, with absolutely nothing at all to worry about in America.Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation when speaking in Washington earlier this year, thanking lawmakers on Capitol Hill for “providing Israel with vital assistance so that Israel can defend itself by itself.”So with Israel and America already getting along, what’s the point of having so much of Congress dropping by for vacation?“There’s really no reason for these congressmen to be going,” activist Adam Shapiro tells RT. “It’s really shocking that this is happening at this time. We look around the world and we see uprisings in countries . . . where people are rising up in the streets, questioning their politicians about the policies they’re electing, specifically relating to economic issues, and . . . lawmakers are taking a vacation.”Estee Chandler is with the Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, and she agrees that Congress could be working towards matters that are actually troublesome to America at the moment.“There is no crisis in that relationship,” Chandler tells RT. America on its own, however, needs more money put into education, a strong healthcare reform and, as she puts it, “deal with our own crumbling infrastructure.” “There is no reason for American policy makers to be going,” Shapiro reminds RT, recalling that the US already gives over $3 billion each year to Israel in military aid alone. For a country that has a credit rating not much lower than America, says Shapiro, we really don’t need to be giving that much, let alone let them persuade us to give it.House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer will be among the six dozen-plus lawmakers making the excursion this summer.