WASHINGTON – The 24-hour ZOA Capitol Hill Mission began the evening of June 19.
Eighty Zionist activists from around the country attended a dinner featuring Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, gave an impassioned speech defending Israel, while attacking members of Congress who have recently promoted BDS and anti-Semitism.
Paul Teller, special assistant to the president in the Office of Legislative Affairs, also addressed the group, stating, “I’m such a huge fan of ZOA. It’s amazing how many groups say they are pro-Israel. ZOA means it.”
“It’s not a problem to show something pro-Israel in this White House,” he added.
Our delegation increased threefold the following day as over two dozen senators and representatives addressed us. The focus of the 2019 Mission was to combat anti-Semitism and the Iranian threat.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) opened the morning by stating that the bond between Israel and the U.S. must remain forever. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) followed by mentioning his three trips to Israel while serving as governor of Florida and his attendance, as the only governor, at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem last year.
A perennial favorite in the pro- Israel community, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) listed five accomplishments of the past two years, including moving the embassy, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, removing Iranian oil waivers, passing human shield legislation, and the recent unanimous Senate vote to condemn anti-Semitism.
Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) gave an emotional presentation while flanked by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.). Mast lost both his legs in Afghanistan, Crenshaw lost an eye in the same country, and Baird lost an arm in Vietnam. Mast said he “does not think it is a good idea to give terrorists their own state.”
Crenshaw followed by commenting, “Europe is losing its sense of self as Jews are attacked.” He further opined the U.S. would not tolerate thousands of rockets being fired from a next-door neighbor, such as Gaza.The ZOA activists then attended dozens of meetings in the offices of their representatives and senators. We lobbied for legislation to combat anti-Semitism, including four bills introduced or sponsored by Republicans that disapprove of recent comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.); stand up for the principles of religious tolerance found in the Constitution; and require the Department of Education to protect Jewish students under the Civil Rights Act.
Our New Hampshire group lobbied representatives on four bills currently in the House and Senate, all introduced by Republicans, that would expand sanctions against Iran because of its ballistic missile program and support for terrorism.
The original article was posted in The Jewish Advocate and can be found here.