AIPAC Has Spent Millions on Congressional Trips to 'Israel'


 See How Much They’ve Spent on Your Representative
Every year thousands—if not millions—of dollars are spent on private, non-profit funded trips to Israel for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staffs. The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the educational, non-profit arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has funded countless trips to Israel to influence freshmen representatives. According to AIEF’s website, its stated purpose is to “help educate political influencers and potentials about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship through firsthand experiences in Israel.”
AIPAC is planning another junket for freshman members of the House this summer. Click here to see which members are attending, not going, or undecided.
These trips are one-sided, focusing on Israeli priorities and perceptions while ignoring Palestinian perspectives altogether. Privately funded pro-Israel trips like this 2017 Democratic Congressional delegation to Israel by AIEF usually feature visits to Israel’s parliament (Knesset), Israeli military briefings, and meetings with key Israeli political leaders such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. They seldom include more than a single meeting with Palestinian leaders.
Rashida Tlaib, the newly elected representative of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, has attempted to shine light on this distortion by organizing a congressional delegation trip to Palestine in August. She has faced serious backlash as a result. Texas Rep. Brian Babin went as far as to write a letter on January 17 to every House committee chair urging them to deny Tlaib’s request on the basis that it is “ill-conceived and inconsistent with our national values,” arguing that it would be “a gross misappropriation of tax payer dollars.”
Babin might be unaware that, in the past decade alone, groups such as AIEF and other pro-Israel “educational” non-profits have funded nearly 600 trips for current members of Congress and their staffs totaling $10,064,934. Gift travel filings by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives document these trip summaries, costs, and list of attendees. Republican and Democrat delegations frequently join AIEF trips led by Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland’s 5thCongressional District and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California’s 23rd Congressional District. These two alone have combined for 33 trips worth a staggering $441,723.23.
The Institute of Research for Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) recently published a detailed study on further outlining the disparities of privately funded trips to Israel. IRmep provides a thorough background into the AIEF’s links to AIPAC and the Israel lobby. In addition, it states that public opinion is rising for congressional members to take trips to both areas rather than solely Israel. You can find IRmep’s entire report, “Do Members of Congress Take Too Many Private Trips to Israel With AIPAC?” here.
For further information regarding trips sponsored by AIEF and similar groups since Jan. 1, 2008 please click here.

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