WASHINGTON – Senator Scott Brown is traveling to the Middle East, embarking on his second trip abroad since being elected seven months ago.
The Massachusetts Republican is going to Israel and Jordan, according to his spokeswoman, and “will be exploring areas where our countries can further collaborate on homeland security issues.” Brown will be meeting with Jordanian and Israeli defense and foreign military leaders, as well as government officials.
The spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho, would not say whether Brown would travel to the West Bank or and Palestinian areas, citing security concerns.
Brown, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, is traveling with committee staff but he is the only senator on the trip, according to Gitcho.
Brown went to Afghanistan and Pakistan shortly after his election, and in June announced in a speech that he also wanted to travel to Israel. In that speech, he also launched into a strong defense of Israel, which at the time was under widespread criticism for raiding one of six ships that were bound for Gaza, filled with supplies, and attempting to break an Israeli blockade. Nine were killed after Israel commandos stormed aboard.
“I don’t need polling or political strategists to help define a nuanced stance on Israel,” Brown said June 6, at a dinner in Boston sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “We are engaged in a worldwide struggle against radical, violent jihad. It is the defining issue of our time. Our best friends and the strongest allies in this fight are in the State of Israel.”
“Let’s remember – Israel is our ally. Israel is a democracy,” Brown added. “Hamas is a terrorist group with clear and genuine intentions of destroying Israel’s way of life.”
Brown also said that “the story of Israel made a distinct impression on me at a young age,” and said he would travel to Israel to further examine issues facing the country and attempt to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.