The effort to make Israel trips a wedge issue

Top Talker — The Intercept reported yesterday that incoming Democratic Congresswoman from Michigan Rashida Tlaib is planning a trip for fellow House members to the West Bank. Tlaib has not announced which members, if any, will be joining her, nor which organizations will fund the travel. According to the report, Tlaib is butting heads with her party’s leadership even before officially entering office, as freshmen members traditionally visit Israel during their first August recess with AIPAC’s educational affiliate, known as AIEF.

Tlaib is not planning any meetings with the Palestinian Authority or with Israeli government officials, both mainstays of the AIPAC trip. The Intercept article, which criticizes AIPAC for not bringing members of Congress to Gaza, does not make clear whether Tlaib’s delegation plans to visit the coastal enclave themselves. Also in the article, Tlaib reveals that she’s a BDS supporter. “I personally support the BDS movement,” said Tlaib.

What we’re hearing: Incoming Democratic House members are starting to hear from The Intercept asking which trip they are planning to join. It appears there’s an effort underway to spotlight individual members and make the trips a bellwether of sorts for progressives and their approach towards the Middle East.

Question: Were the AIEF trips on Tlaib’s radar before now, or are others who have been fixated on these visits for years orchestrating the effort to make the trips a wedge issue among Democrats?

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