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Ticket to Tel Aviv

Democratic congressman Bob Filner spent a week in Israel last month courtesy of a tax-exempt group run by J Street, an advocacy organization that casts itself as a liberal alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, famous for its hard-line view of Palestinians. According to House travel-disclosure records, Filner traveled from Washington D.C. to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Amman, and Ramallah and returned to San Diego during a weeklong trip that began February 12. Travel expenses included $5434 for a business-class seat; lodging cost $1749, with $548 in meals and $530 in “expediting fees at the airport and border crossing.”

According to the disclosure, the trip’s purpose was to “provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to achieve a more complex and nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” During the Jordan leg of the trip, according to an advance itinerary, the group was to “receive a face-to-face introduction to the Separation Barrier and other major manifestations of the occupation.” At another stop, labeled “Settlement Watch,” tour members were scheduled to “get a first-hand look at the on-the-ground manifestation of settlement expansion and outpost development and its impact on Palestinian communities.”

The J Street Education Fund, formerly known as the Union of Progressive Zionists, which paid for the trip, raised $81,000 from unidentified sources in 2008, according to its 2009 IRS filing. J Street, its parent group — formerly known as Americans for Peace and Security for Israel — raised $474,750.

In October, the New York Times reported that Obama administration national security advisor James L. Jones spoke at J Street’s convention in Washington, while Israeli ambassador Michael B. Oren declined to attend.

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Democratic congressman Bob Filner spent a week in Israel last month courtesy of a tax-exempt group run by J Street, an advocacy organization that casts itself as a liberal alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, famous for its hard-line view of Palestinians. According to House travel-disclosure records, Filner traveled from Washington D.C. to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Amman, and Ramallah and returned to San Diego during a weeklong trip that began February 12. Travel expenses included $5434 for a business-class seat; lodging cost $1749, with $548 in meals and $530 in “expediting fees at the airport and border crossing.”

According to the disclosure, the trip’s purpose was to “provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to achieve a more complex and nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” During the Jordan leg of the trip, according to an advance itinerary, the group was to “receive a face-to-face introduction to the Separation Barrier and other major manifestations of the occupation.” At another stop, labeled “Settlement Watch,” tour members were scheduled to “get a first-hand look at the on-the-ground manifestation of settlement expansion and outpost development and its impact on Palestinian communities.”

The J Street Education Fund, formerly known as the Union of Progressive Zionists, which paid for the trip, raised $81,000 from unidentified sources in 2008, according to its 2009 IRS filing. J Street, its parent group — formerly known as Americans for Peace and Security for Israel — raised $474,750.

In October, the New York Times reported that Obama administration national security advisor James L. Jones spoke at J Street’s convention in Washington, while Israeli ambassador Michael B. Oren declined to attend.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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