Five Latino journalists returned last week from an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel in another bid by an American Jewish group to influence the United States’ growing Latino population.
“We welcome to Israel a group of prestigious journalists, publishers and reporters from the U.S. Hispanic Community,” proclaimed the New York-based America’s Voices in Israel, which chronicled the trip on its Facebook page. “Participants include Jorge Ferraez, Mary Rabago, Lupita Colmenero, Ruben Navarrette [Jr.] & Ruben Keoseyan.”
Ferraez and his brother, Raul, are founders of Latino Leaders Magazine; Rabago is anchor for Univision 33 in Phoenix; Colmenero is publisher for El Hispano News and founder of Parents Step Ahead, an educational outreach initiative; Navarrette is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group; and Keoseyan is executive editor of Los Angeles-based La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States.
The trip follows a similar tour by 17 Latino journalists from the United States and Latin America in November, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL was concerned about what it considered an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.
According to Navarrette, America’s Voices in Israel was more interested in America’s changing demographics. “They see the future of the U.S. is wrapped up in the Latino community,” he said.
The Israelis might not have recognized that future, but the columnist said that after 20 briefings in eight days, the Latino journalists decided they would share some information of their own: “In 20 years, 25 percent – one in four Americans – would be Latino; there are five battleground states, in three of five of Latinos will be significant. We’re really not on their radar,” Navarrette said. “It got back to Bibi,” Navarrette said of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “that we were preaching this message.” He was fine with that, the columnist said. Netanyahu was one of many the group met with.
If the Israelis’ intent was to impress the journalists, they succeeded.
Keoseyan told Journal-isms by email, “The trip was incredible and much knowledge was gained. I will be using the knowledge obtained as context and information rather than specific coverage.”