Press Releases

CONGRESSWOMAN STACEY E. PLASKETT STATEMENT REGARDING CANCELLATION OF MIDDLE EAST FACT FINDING TRIP

Washington, August 15, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

CONGRESSWOMAN STACEY E. PLASKETT STATEMENT REGARDING CANCELLATION OF MIDDLE EAST FACT FINDING TRIP

 Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett (USVI), released the following statement regarding the recent cancellation of Middle East fact finding trip:

“I was invited by the Humpty Dumpty Institute, a longstanding international NGO focused on development work which has a Congressional Advisory Board with over 20 Members of Congress, to visit to Israel and Palestine this summer.  The trip’s focus was to meet with people on the ground and international community organizations doing good work under difficult circumstances.  It's my understanding that this organization led a group of other members on this exact trip some time ago.  Aside from a briefing with our own US State Department and Ambassador it was my understanding that we would not meet with any foreign governments. Additionally, my visit was not to highlight any person or groups agenda.  I have had staff visit Israel at the request of the Israeli government and had hoped to use the trip to learn more related to this important but troubled region.

“The Virgin Islands of the United States has the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and the longest synagogue in continuous use under the American flag. That synagogue is one of five in the world that feature sand-covered floors, dating back to the Inquisition era custom of using sand to muffle forbidden prayer.  Our Jewish community is engaged with all people in our diverse culture.  The Virgin Islands also has a distinguished Middle Eastern and sizable Palestinian population dating back to over one hundred years on our islands.  We live and work side by side – of all ethnicities, religions and backgrounds.  Our islands are the home to many peoples persecuted, enslaved, those looking for a better quality of life.  We model tolerance and continually work to understand one another for the betterment of us all.  That is what makes America great. While I recognize that I would still be able to go on the trip and that the people on the ground still need to be heard from unfortunately I believe the trip will not be productive at this time. I am hopeful that I will be able at another date to visit this region.  During that visit I hope to learn more about the region and maybe share some of the sensibilities of Virgin Islanders – a people interested in making a better place for themselves and their children together.”

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