SF Officials' (Sometimes Scary) Junkets to Israel - April 13, 2016 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

SF Officials' (Sometimes Scary) Junkets to Israel

Last week, Mayor Ed Lee jetted off to Israel as the head of a delegation of over 20 city employees, business leaders, and pillars in the local Jewish community for a sister-city trip. The mayor met with Israeli officials in Haifa, spoke with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, and even traveled to the West Bank (where he met with Palestinian property developers).

That trip, funded by the Jewish Community Relations Council, according to public records, was nothing compared to the one Bayview District Supervisor Malia Cohen took in January. That one, funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) — considered a Zionist group by former Daily Show host Jon Stewart — did not include a visit to the West Bank, for “security purposes.” However, Cohen did learn about the Israeli equivalent of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the junket also included a trip to Golan Heights, from where Cohen could see Syria — and where she had a Hillary Clinton moment.

“I saw a firefight,'” she told SF Weekly. “It was what they described as a 'skirmish.' We saw mortars being dropped… It was scary.”

And only once did the (unmarried, Christian) supe confuse anyone with her last name.

“Once, in customs, someone asked me where my husband was,” she says. “And they asked me in Hebrew.”