Sunday, August 14, 2011

20% of House members in Israel last week, courtesy of AIPAC

In apparent violation of House Ethic rules, 81 members of the House of Representatives are flying First Class and enjoying lavish dinners as their constituents are told they have to cut back. They get this lavish vacation given to them by AIPAC, or to be more precise, an entity created (and sustained) by aipac to skirt around House ethic rules. One of the perks of being a member of Congress.

Among the congressional members subjecting themselves to aipac indoctrination is John Garamendi of California. Garamendi's district includes many areas that are struggling as the US economy falters under the weight of supporting multiple wars in the Middle East. But none of those areas were visited, instead promises were made to Israel that it alone will escape any budget cuts in Washington (unlike any city in the US). This push for continued massive aid to Israel is very expensive for US taxpayers.

Here's a list of those known congresspeople supporting the aipac-orientation to Israel.

They will not learn about the real problem in the Middle East, they will not talk to average Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank who are subject to Israeli oppression. They will not see Israel bulldozers, sponsored by the US taxpayers, destroy home after home of Palestinian civilians.

Yali Amit, an Israeli-American constituent of Rep. Jackson, Jr. (another vacationer) called his office to oppose his participation in the trip to Israel. He was told that Rep. Jackson, Jr. wants to learn what is happening there because of his position on the appropriations subcommittee that approves military aid to Israel. Amit retorted that “you can't learn what goes on there on a paid trip of a propaganda arm of the Israeli government.” And you certainly can’t learn about the devastating impact that these U.S. weapons have on unarmed Palestinian civilians, nearly 3,000 of whom were killed by the Israeli military over the last decade.

Is this even legal under rules adopted by the House of Representatives? Probably not...

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen who helped draft the new post-Abramoff federal lobbying and ethics reform legislation signed into law in 2007, agrees that something is rotten in state of AIPAC. According to Holman, “The House ethics rules do not provide an exemption for 501(c)(3)s that are controlled and directed by a lobbying entity to pay for travel junkets for members of Congress.

See much more in this article by Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation.

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