By Sue Ellen Woodcock
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent and State Sen. Joseph Boncore are among 13 Massachusetts legislators traveling to Israel this week with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.
Legislators left last Thursday, and are expected to return on Dec. 17. The nine-day trip is paid for by the JCRC, a registered State House lobbying group that is pushing a controversial bill that would prohibit boycott and sanction efforts against the Jewish state for its policies toward Palestinians. The price tag for the trip can reach up to $6,000 per person, and is paid for by the JCRC.
“The JCRC takes a delegation to Israel every year,” said Vincent’s aide, Rick Serino.
For security purposes, there was no itinerary released and no details on the trip. Vincent is expected to comment on the trip when she returns.
The trip also comes on the heels of President Donald Trump declaring Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
The JCRC is leading the local effort to get a bill approved that would prohibit any laws that would ban Massachusetts departments from contracting with anyone or company that boycotts Israeli businesses and products. That boycott movement — BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) — has created fierce debates in legislative bodies around the world.
The trip comes just four months after the State Legislature’s joint Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee held a hearing on JCRC’s bill that would prohibit the state from adopting the BDS policies. The group argues that BDS is part of an anti-Israeli campaign to isolate the Jewish state.
“JCRC study tours are intended to provide civic leaders with a more comprehensive sense of Israelis and Palestinians and of our support for their efforts to achieve a meaningful and lasting peace through a two-state solution,’’ said Jeremy Burton, JCRC’s executive director.