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Trip Talk

Black Caucus members visit Israel, Rwanda on trip focused on ‘common ground’

The delegation was organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC-linked nonprofit

Government Press Office

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week in Jerusalem.

A group of nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited Israel last week on a delegation sponsored by the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation. The group has since continued on to Rwanda as part of the trip.

A spokesperson for Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), a new co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations who is participating in the trip, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the trip aims to educate members on Israel and Rwanda’s “effort to build common ground while developing and growing socially, culturally, and economically out of tragedy.”

An AIPAC source told Jewish Insider that the trip is the first to Rwanda that AIEF has sponsored, and is “a chance to highlight not only the U.S.-Israel relationship but also the trilateral bonds between the U.S., Israel and Rwanda.” Topics of discussion included Israeli security, the Abraham Accords, Israeli-African relations and judicial reform, the source said.

Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) is another leader of the group, joined by Reps. Valerie Foushee (D-NC), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Troy Carter (D-LA), Jonathan Jackson (D-IL), Alma Adams (D-NC), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) and Glenn Ivey (D-MD).

In Israel, the trip included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition MK Benny Gantz.

The group is largely made up of consistent supporters of Israel or members who have been largely uninvolved in Israel policy. The notable exception is Jackson, who led a group of progressive lawmakers this summer in opposing Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program this year and voiced criticisms of the “atrocious conditions” in the West Bank.

Foushee also signed that letter, but said subsequently that she’d done so in error. Foushee and Ivey were backed by AIPAC in their contested 2022 primaries.

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