(ATLANTA, GA – 8/15/2019) The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) today expressed support for a federal ethics complaint filed after Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath and other members of Congress joined an all-expense-paid trip to Israel sponsored by an arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an anti-Palestinian lobbyist group that has funded Islamophobic causes.
In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:
“We expect Representative McBath and other members of Congress to visit their districts and serve their constituents, not to take free trips abroad sponsored by a lobby group that supports anti-Muslim bigotry here at home and unjust wars overseas.
“As a friend of the Georgia Muslim community and an advocate for justice, Rep. McBath should make amends with her constituents, cut ties with AIPAC, and pledge to never participate in unethical trips like this again. So should every other member of Congress.”
Federal law prohibits lobbyists from providing “gifts of travel” to lawmakers, but a loophole has permitted AIPAC to create a non-profit offshoot, the American-Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which funds annual congressional trips to Israel with money provided by AIPAC supporters.
Earlier this week, the anti-war group CodePink filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics over the practice.
During the trips, AIPAC’s nonprofit arm reportedly whitewashes the impact of the Israeli government’s racist and segregationist military occupation of the Palestinian people. The group also arranges for members of Congress to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an unrepentant anti-Arab racist.
On June 28th, CAIR-Georgia, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Jewish Voice for Peace – Atlanta, Project South, Masjid Jafar of Johns Creek, and numerous 6th District residents sent a letter to Rep. McBath that asked her not to attend the trip.
The letter cited AIPAC’s history of engaging in anti-Muslim bigotry, pushing the United States toward war with Iran and Iraq, and opposing an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Forty-one House Democrats led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ultimately attended the trip, while least 30 House Democrats declined to do so for various stated reasons. A Republican delegation led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also participated in the trip.
CONTACT: Edward Ahmed Mitchell; 404-285-9530, email@example.com