This is how the game works. AIPAC pays to have members of Congress go on a “fact finding” trip to Israel to “educate” them and from that time forward, those members of Congress will know the rules; it’s pay-for-play. People with diverse opinions about foreign policy relating to the Middle East need not apply. It’s not a Republican vs. Democratic thing, it’s the entire Congress- all of them are escorted on this “educational” trek to the Holy Land and all of them know that not a single lobbying group in the U.S. gives something for nothing. AIPAC expects something in return and you can be sure they’ll get it- these members of Congress know that they will be expected to safeguard Israel’s interests at any cost, even if those interests at times conflict with the foreign policy of a sitting U.S. President.
Eighty-one congressmen, or about 20 percent of the US House of Representatives, will visit Israel over the next three weeks during Congress’s summer recess, with the first group of 26 Democrats scheduled to arrive on Monday.
The Democratic delegation will be followed by two Republican ones, bringing a total of 55 Republicans.
The week-long trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which brings large delegations of congressmen here every other August.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) will head the Democratic delegation, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) will lead one of the Republican groups.
Hoyer, in a statement, said he looked forward to “returning to Israel to continue learning firsthand about the evolving security situation in the Middle East, the deep challenges facing Israel, and the role the US can play in the region during this time of uncertainty.
I’m pleased members of Congress have this opportunity to study American interests in the Middle East and gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.”
This sort of special interest pay-for-play is insidious whether it’s the pharmaceutical, oil or insurance industry throwing their weight (ie. money) around but here’s the difference- Israel is a foreign country and there is something very unseemly about agents of a foreign government (AIPAC) having this much influence.