Arutz Sheva spoke with a group of Republican Congress members who visited Israel on a US Israel Education Association (USIEA) tour.
USIEA sponsors advanced educational tours to Israel with members of Congress. During the tours, Members visit the two primary security fronts of Judea and Samaria.
The tour provides them with vital information that they can take back to the US Congress to further educate in the areas of defense, security and joint economic development between Israelis and Palestinians.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said that support for Israel in Congress remains bipartisan despite recent statements by President Donald Trump suggesting that some Democrats are anti-Israel.
“We must remain bipartisan, staunch, unequivocal allies of Israel. Israel is our greatest friend within the Middle East. We share so much. We work cooperatively on defense, on economic opportunities and it must remain bipartisan. This is America’s position,” she told Arutz Sheva.
Asked about Trump’s assertion that Jews who vote for the Democratic Party are disloyal, McMorris Rodgers said, “I don’t agree. It must remain America’s position and it must remain bipartisan, and it’s overwhelming. It’s a small number. We just passed a resolution in Congress disapproving of BDS. There was overwhelming support – Republicans and Democrats. 398 voted yes, 17 voted no. And it’s important that this remain America’s position.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) acknowledged that there are voices in Congress now who are for the BDS movement and who are anti-Israel “and frankly, I’m disappointed to hear a single voice like that in Congress, but I do not think they represent anywhere near the vast majority people in Congress on either side of the aisle.”
Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) opined, “I think it’s not good for either side to politicize the relationship between the US and Israel and the people. It’s polarizing. It’s not productive. We are for peace and prosperity. This relationship is necessary, not just from a trade and economic standpoint, but mostly from a safety and security standpoint. From a defense standpoint. I try and keep the political rhetoric and the lightning rods out of this. I don’t think it’s helpful.”
Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) related to Trump’s “disloyalty” remarks and said, “I think what he was saying was that he felt they were being disloyal to Israel. He wasn’t saying being disloyal to the United States at all. His implication was you were being disloyal to the State of Israel.”
Added Byrne, “I know Democrats who strongly support Israel, and many of them agree with many of us on the Republican side, but I do worry when you start hearing some of the rhetoric coming out of higher level Democrats that the Democratic Party is beginning to slide, as a party, more and more in the direction of the BDS movement, and I think that would be unfortunate.”