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NH Rep Got Free Trip to Israel

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    New Hampshire: REP. HODES ON TRIP TO ISRAEL WITH 17 OTHER CONGRESSMEN Union Leader U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., is in the second week of a privately funded
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2007
      Union Leader

      U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., is in the second week of a privately
      funded trip to Israel with 17 other Democratic House members.

      The trip is being paid for by the American Israel Education
      Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that regularly
      sponsors what it calls education trips to Israel for members of
      Congress. The group is affiliated with the American Israel Public
      Affairs Committee, a major pro-Israel lobbying group, and hosted 19
      Republican House members on a similar trip earlier this month. Hodes
      spokesman Bergen Kenny said the trip is Hodes' first to Israel and his
      wife, Peggo, is accompanying him.

      She called it "a high-level, diplomatic trip meant to educate and
      build relationships between Israeli and American officials. As the
      only democracy in the Middle East, the congressman views Israel as a
      crucial U.S. ally.

      "It's a good chance for these members to see first hand and speak
      first hand with officials there and learn about Israel's position and
      the Palestinian position and both of their cultures, and then bring
      back what they learned to Congress," Kenny said.

      While the new Democratic House has imposed its own rules limiting
      privately funded travel while new ethics legislation awaits President
      George W. Bush's signature, Kenny said, "This is completely within the
      bounds of the ethics legislation that passed the House.

      Kenny said that previously, "any kind of privately funded travel was
      allowed and there was next to no oversight. Now, not only is
      lobbyist-funded travel forbidden, but lobbyists are not allowed to go
      on the trip or travel with members of congress. As an independent,
      charitable non-profit, AIEF qualifies and was approved by the House
      Ethics Committee last week."

      Kenny said that during the August recess trip, Hodes and the other
      congressmen met with the current Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert,
      former prime ministers Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu and others.


      A Democratic congressman accused AIPAC of having "pushed" the Iraq war.

      Jewish Telegraph Agency

      A Democratic congressman accused AIPAC of having "pushed" the Iraq war.

      "AIPAC is the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the
      beginning," U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said in this month's Tikkun
      magazine. "Because they are so well organized, and their members are
      extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they
      have been able to exert power."

      Moran has stirred controversy in the past for his criticisms of the
      Israel lobby. The National Jewish Democratic Council called on Moran
      to retract the comments about the American Israel Public Affairs

      "It is never easy nor pleasant to criticize a fellow Democrat, but
      sometimes it is necessary," the Democratic council said in a
      statement. "While there is nothing wrong with criticizing AIPAC -- or
      for that matter any organization with which you disagree -- spreading
      false statements is clearly irresponsible."

      Noting that Moran's comments came as American political scientists
      John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have published a book positing the
      same argument, the Democratic council said, "Moran's comments are not
      only incorrect and irresponsible, they are downright dangerous."


      US Senator asks for Iran invasion
      Wed, 12 Sep 2007

      US Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
      Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, among the US Senate's fiercest hawks, has
      once again asked for the expansion of US invasion into Iran.

      "Is it time to give you authority, in pursuit of your mission in Iraq,
      to pursue those Iranian Quds Force operations in Iranian territory, in
      order to protect American troops in Iraq," Lieberman asked at a
      hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

      But Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of US troops in Iraq, demurred
      at the idea of an expansion into Iran.

      "I think that really the Multinational Force Iraq should just focus on
      Iraq and that any kinds of operations outside the borders of Iraq
      would rightly be overseen by the Central Command," Petraeus said.

      Lieberman, who is Jewish and a staunch supporter of Israel, has always
      supported the Bush administration's military agenda in the Middle East
      and against the Muslim world.

      Observers say Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has been
      effectively rejected by his Democratic political camp.

      Analysts say the US, as the invader of Iraq, is responsible for
      insecurity in the country. Hence, it is trying to divert public
      attention from its occupation of Iraq and the real problems in the
      country by pointing the figure of blame at Iran.



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