Johnson and council members off on week-long trip to Israel

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
William Alatriste for the New York City Council

Johnson and council members off on week-long trip to Israel

Fresh off his first domestic trip, the new City Council speaker is heading abroad.
April 12, 2018

Fresh off his first domestic trip as speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson is going abroad on a eight-day trip to Israel. The trip, described as a “mission” in a Thursday night press release, is being funded by the Jewish Community Relations Council, a nonprofit organization advocating for New York’s Jews. He’s flying out Thursday and will return more than a week later, on Friday, April 20.

Nine council members are expected to join him: Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Justin Brannan, Chaim Deutsch, Rafael Espinal, Karen Koslowitz, Stephen Levin, Francisco Moya, Carlina Rivera and Ritchie Torres. At least two council staffers are also going, according to a City Council spokesperson.

A search of the fiscal year 2018 budget suggests that the JCRC didn’t get any direct city funding, but some of its member organizations do, such as the Queens Jewish Community Council, which is receiving more than $70,000 in discretionary funds this year. Another member, UJA-Federation of New York, has reported lobbying activity with Johnson and Espinal this year.

Johnson has been to Israel before, including a visit last year and a nine-day trip with then-Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in 2015. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also traveled with JCRC in 2010 and again in 2012. Among other plans, the members expect to visit the Israel-Gaza border and meet Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. On a February trip to Israel with the JCRC, members of the Assembly had to evacuate a meeting when Palestinian groups protested their presence.

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.