Following trip, McKinley stands with Israel
September 8, 2011 ·
Following a trip to the Middle East, a West Virginia congressman says he’s standing firm with Israel. Rep. David McKinley is encouraging President Obama to do the same.
This is Congressman’s David McKinley’s first term representing the first district of West Virginia. Last month, a powerful Jewish lobby group paid to send him and 24 other members of Congress to Israel.
The trip for the legislators was paid for by the American Israel Foundation. According to their website, the group “... provides grant money to educate opinion leaders about the U.S.-Israel relationship, to expand public awareness about issues affecting the Middle East and to encourage participation in public affairs.”
The First District Representative says he wanted to take the trip to see what everyday life was like for Israelis. He said it was eye-opening to visit the country that’s about the size of New Jersey.
"Every day we were there, there were missile attacks coming out of the Gaza strip," McKinley said.
"What I marveled at is the resiliency of the people. Is that they have came to understand that there are people that do not respect their right to exist and for them to retaliate may very well weaken their position in the global the community so they try to just defend their selves."
In 1967 Israel took control of several lands including the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. In May of this year, President Obama said that Israel should go back to pre-1967 borders, a key Palestinian demand.
McKinley disagrees with that idea.
"The want what they call defensible borders," he said. "They can’t afford to have the same situation that occurred back in 67 when through the West Bank the Syrian the Egyptian Army were able to get right at the heartland of Israel."
Simplified, McKinley says Israel wants a homeland but its neighbors won’t accept the nation’s existence.
"The sheer reality is who are they negotiating with, terrorists Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria," he said.
"It’s not like we deal with in America where we deal with other countries that accept reality and accept the existence but when a nation rejects the whole concept that there had been a holocaust it’s just a so bizarre way of understanding how people live."
The Congressman does not serve on a committee that would enable him to do anything specifically in favor of Israel. But he hopes to start dialogue and raise awareness about his point of view on the Israel situation.