This is a guest post by Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-03). He is in Israel this week withAIPAC and will be blogging regularly and exclusively for TC Jewfolk during his trip. Miss yesterday’s post? Read it here.
From the desk of Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN:03):
As she places her cell phone on the lectern she apologizes for having to monitor it during her speech in case in her 11 year-old calls while she’s speaking to us. I know right away she is worried about his safety while she’s away.
Because she lives only a half mile from the border, her family only gets a ten-second warning when the code red siren alarm goes off signaling a rocket launch. And there were 40 launches yesterday.
She lamented the time when not many years ago she interacted heavily with the Palestinian population in Gaza, when their kibbutz was interacting with them economically and they spent a lot of time on the Gaza beach. Those days are in the past for her now.
After breakfast we drove through east Jerusalem to see the separation barrier and learn more about how it has made living safer, as well as frustrating and menacing for those who now have to go through checkpoints.
Then two big meetings today with Israeli leaders: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. They both very much appreciate the U.S./Israeli relationship. This is the second time I’ve met Shimon Peres – last time was in 2007.
Peres characterized the Arab Spring as a clash of generations, because younger people are removing corrupt leaders and demanding accountability.
There was also a joke at dinner tonight: if you are going to design a political system, don’t adopt the Israeli political system because you don’t get to vote for a person, but only a party (there’s no word for “accountability” in Hebrew). And the Prime Minister has to survive a vote of no confidence every Monday by parliament. And so coalition politics are always at play among the parties.
While I haven’t even been here 48 hours, it feels longer – probably one reason they say when you are in Israel, time is calculated in dog years, so that’s why it feels like I’ve been here 14 days!
Member of Congress
(Photo: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)
While you are on your little junket listening to people whine about a lack of beach access, please consider that many Americans can’t afford to go to the beach this year. Real unemployment is close to 20%, we just lost our credit rating, and our children’s future is being sold to fund wars we were ssuckered into on faulty intelligence. How many American old people died during the recent heat wave because they could not afford air conditioning? How many veterans are homeless and unemployed? How many people in Israel are getting American taxpayer money and protection? How many of them have thanked us, the American People, for the money you and your fellow politicians get them from taxpayers? If you represent Israel, why don’t you stay there forever, and calculate that in American time or Israeli time? You’ll not be missed.
Dear Mr Paulson,
As a representative for the good folk of Minnesota which has a Jewish population of some 50,000 out of 5,250,000, would you please take the time to explain exactly why you repeatedly go to Israel and why Israel is more important to you than your own country.
As an Orthodox American Jew I feel offended that our politicians seem to be more concerned about the ethnocratic state of Israel than about our own American people. Why is that, and how long will this continue? We need American leaders like Ron Paul and others who put American interests first, second and third, instead of adopting the values and enemies of the paranoid State of Israel, which is a disgrace to the Jewish religion beyond description.
“Then two big meetings today with Israeli leaders: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. They both very much appreciate the U.S./Israeli relationship.” Of course they appreciate the relationship, we (the U.S. taxpayer) are the ones who butter their bread. We give them a ton of money and they tell you how much they love it. What a relationship! Please put America 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
America needs people who work for America, not foreign hostile countries.
Israel is an ally of the United States and our only friend in the Middle East. It is a stable liberal democracy in a sea of unstable dictatorships.
Israel has given us vital assistance in war against terrorism, is an important technological and trading partner of the United States, and is supported by the vast majority of Americans in its fight for existence.
Our roads, bridges and infrastructure is crumbling, and you claim it’s important to give welfare to another country that seems to be wealthy enough to provide universal health care for it’s citizens thanks to not having to pay for it’s weapons.
And the primary reason we are in a fight against “terror”, which is a tactic, is because of our unconditional support for Israel. So Israel provides invaluable support? Right… Iran provided more support than Israel did during the Iraq invasion. They deserve the money more than Israel does. Israel lied to us telling us there was WMD and there wasn’t. A lie is a lie, and they lied and over 4,000 Americans are dead.
What welfare? Israel gets no American welfare. It gets loan guarantees, which it more than repays both by leanding America technological assistance and by absorbing casualties in the war on terror at a far greater rate than America does.
This is opportunistic childish bashing of a common Congressional junket. Go out there and help poor people if you care that much and get these Republicans out of office.
Hophmi lies. Israel receives FIVE BILLION DOLLARS a year in direct transfers. That is in addition to the billions of dollars in U.S. loan guarantees it already enjoys.
And if we look beyond direct transfers and include indirect assistance such as the use of the U.S. military to attack Israel’s rivals in the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan), the sum total of welfare is just staggering.
“Israel has given us vital assistance in war against terrorism”
Agreed. It has shown America what not to do on plenty of occasions. What invaluable assistance.
“….and by absorbing casualties in the war on terror at a far greater rate than America does”
So, you are telling us that since 9/11, the Israeli military has sustained more casualities than the United States military has in “the war on terror”?
Hophni, that is beyond disingenuous, it is a bald faced lie.
hophmi is a regular commentator all over the web, on about a dozen blogs. either he is paid to pretend to be ignorant, or is sincerely ignorant. either way…. his words are far from the reality. as a jewish heritage american, i deplore israeli actions, american subservience to israeli agendas, and american agendas which do not help the american people.
wake up people… the only interest we have in the entire middle east is oil, and we can secure oil without our current policies, much easier. further, israel is not an asset in securing a regular flow of oil, israel is a major liability, which does not share our values as americans.
BTW i just returned from 2 months living with family in tel aviv, and also living in the west bank. they have a “fight” and it is a dirty, “might makes right” fight we have no place in. i want nothing but peace for israel, and some feasible justice for palestinians…. but we have no national role in it. these people who bend to a lobby which represents a fringe jewish american opinion (mixed with the MIC and christian zionists…) are deplorable. they do NOT have our interests in mind, they have re-election in mind.
good night paulson, i hope you loose your next election. -jewish american (don’t represent the $$$, represent the people, including the JEWS, not the fringe jewish LOBBY)
What is the logic behind our alliance with Israel?
We give them billions in aid. We are targeted by terorism because of our support of them. We’ve suffered oil embargoes. We are bogged down fighting wars which benifit them…
What do the American people get from Israel?
probably the computer you are using.
I lost my entire office and two of my friends on 911. This was a direct result of US support for Israel. I don’t live in Israel, I live in America. I expect the leaders of American to protect me and not bring terrorism to our door step. Supporting Israel is not Americas interest in shape or form.
If you want to support Israel, emigrate there. Dont expect Americans to give their money and children to defend what is, lets face it, just a colony.
Blaming your friends death on Israel is just ludicrous. It is a blood libel. Israel had zero to do with 9/11, it was Arab terrorists, they are directly responsible for your friends death.
“Americans’ opinion of Congress has hit a record low, with only 13 percent of voters saying they approve of the way Capitol Hill lawmakers are doing their jobs, the Gallup polling service reported Tuesday.”
That was in April, Fox reported it was at ten percent last week. It’s sad so many of our representatives are more interested in listening to Israeli voices on their summer break than those of their constituents.
If Rep Paulsen would haven’t visited any other country there would be zero backlash from his visit. The majority of the comments are by people who hate Israel.
Were these same people also protesting Congressman Ellison’s all paid for trip to Mecca? doubtful.
I wonder how many of these posters are actually from our great state?
The whole point is that Israel is one of about 200 countries, but gets 10% of the visits made by Congress members who are supposed to represent citizens of the USA.
You are right about Mecca, but it is Israel and its Zionist supporters in the USA who pay for these propaganda trips. A Jewish woman complaining about rockets from Gaza, when her government pummels the besieged strip daily, is the usual propaganda. Try the site “If Americans Knew” to get accurate figures for the damage done by and to israel.
Israeli actions are a reaction to terror from Gaza, it has been that way for years now.
“If Rep Paulsen would haven’t visited any other country there would be zero backlash from his visit. The majority of the comments are by people who hate Israel”
UJ, so far, in reading these comments, I have not seen you offer ONE SINGLE SUBSTANTIVE REBUTTAL.
I will ask you again; WHAT BENEFIT ARE MINNESOTANS REALIZING AS A RESULT OF PAULSEN’S TRIPS TO ISRAEL???
How about the economic benefits? Israel is a major trading partner and, specifically, is one of the top five countries in medtech innovation. Lo and behold, Minnesota is a hotbed of medtech companies, like Medtronic. Further, Medtronic has bought 3 or 4 Israeli companies in the last 2 years and has established operations in Israel. Rep. Paulsen is an advocate of Minnesota’s medtech community. Wow, this seems natural that Rep. Paulsen would visit Israel on this basis alone.
Sorry for the late reply POAmerican. Here is a link regarding cooperation between the state of Israel and the state of Minnesota:
More info about how Israel benefits Minnesota business:
Great, U.S. tech companies are sending work to Israel. And get this, Israel is a country that officially discriminates against people because of their religion. Most native people of their land and most Americans are the wrong religion to get official status in Israel and work in companies in Israel, a place where only Jews are welcomed as equal citizens. Talented engineers are being laid off in the U.S., while our congresspeople encourage technology development in a country that discriminates against those workers.
Is this what you are referring to Lyn19:
President Peres launches initiative to integrate Israeli Arabs into hi-tech workforce
Dear Mr Paulson,
“As a representative for the good folk of Minnesota which has a Jewish population of some 50,000 out of 5,250,000, would you please take the time to explain exactly why you repeatedly go to Israel and why Israel is more important to you than your own country.”
This is a crucial question you should respond to.
The electric car with a switch out battery. What a phenomenal idea. We should start developing this in the US. Another reason why US-Israel relations are so important. So glad Congressman Paulsen is standing with Israel.
All of these US Congressman who venture to Israel should stay there and represent the Israeli people.
Why on earth aren’t you here in the US representing your constituents?
If you can’t say something positive about Paulsen or AIPAC or Israel, don’t expect it to be printed here.
“Freedom of the Press belongs to the man who owns one”
— A.J. Liebling