UPDATED: Shyne, Byers travel to Israel on secretive all expenses paid junket

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UPDATE:  Marshall Wittmann of AIPAC has denied that his organization was the sponsor of the trip. WEHOville has reached out to the councilmembers for clarification and awaits their reply.
UPDATE 8/21 WEHOville has confirmed that Chelsea Byers accompanied Sepi Shyne on the trip. The secrecy behind their trip remains a puzzle.
UPDATE:8/20 FROM SEPI SHYNES INSTAGRAM: Just wanted to share that last wee, I had the chance to go to Israel as part of a delegation of elected officials from all over California, tans to @projectinterchange. The trip was eye opening to say the least. We got to experience Israel, Arab, and Palestinian life, culture and politics first hand. From Tel Aviv to Haifa, teh Lebanon-Israel border to Jerusalem and Ramallah, we covered a lot of ground. Meeting experts, elected officials, and folks from various industries gave us a diverse perspective on things.

You know, it’s always crucial to see things from your own vantage point rather than relying solely on others’ opinions. The situation in Israel is seriously complex. What’s happening there is soemthing we need to pay attention to, especially because it’s about more than just one country’s fate. The risk of Israel losing its democracy is concerning, and we need to take it seriously because the same can happen to us.

Council member Byers still has not returned any calls for comment.
WEHOville stands corrected about who paid for Shyne’s trip, but the all expense trip was paid for by project interchange. In addition Shyne was secretive until WEHOville exposed her trip and it took over a week for the elected official to confirm her trip abrroad.
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Mayor Sepi Shyne and Council member Chelsea Byers arrived back from an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel courtesy of AIPAC. AIPAC is the largest pro-Israel advocacy organization in the United States. From the AIPAC website: We supported 365 pro-Israel Democratic and Republican candidates in 2022 with more than $17 million in direct support through AIPAC.

The two traveled together quietly under the radar. There are no photos of the trip on either social media account. Texts to and from public officials confirm a lack of transparency about their trip. Texts from one city council member confirmed both will be in attendance for Monday’s Public Safety Meeting.

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Byers and Shyne have both been accused of anti-Semitism. Byers has a long and comprehensive history of supporting extremist anti-Semitic and anti-Israel positions, including as a founding member of Students for Justice in Palestine or SJP. Byer’s leadership at SJP came at a time when the organization took an active role in denying the indigenous Jewish connection to the land of Israel and strengthened ties to international terrorist organizations like Hamas and other violent movements. During the 2022 election, ICAN, the Israel Civic Action Network, opposed Byers. Shyne is running for Congress to replace Congressman Adam Schiff and needed to burnish her credentials within the Jewish Community.

Shyne, along with Byers and Mayor Pro Tem Erickson, worked behind the scenes to stop the screening of J’Accuse, a Holocaust education documentary featuring a Jewish LGBT civil rights activist and former West Hollywood resident. The item, brought forward by the only city council member of Jewish descent, Lauren Meister, was rejected by the trio. ICAN was forced to pull the movie.

Mayor Shyne has appointed only one current Jewish board member or Commissioner out of seventeen appointments, fewer than any other Council member. Shyne has repeatedly attacked members of the Jewish Community in West Hollywood, including Mikie Friedman, who was forced to resign from the Disability Advisory Board, and Keith Kaplan, a former Chair of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Kaplan filed a grievance with the Los Angeles County Public Integrity Division. Shyne also attacked the only Jewish member of the City Council, Lauren Meister, and called for the resignation of her Planning Commissioner over a comment about Persian weddings.

The trip, during a time of crisis in Israel would appear to support the hard line Netanyahu government and resembles luxury trips taken by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, which progressive Democrats call inappropriate.

 

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[…] California, including two of the City Councilmembers here in West Hollywood, Chelsea Byers and Sepi Shyne. There is nothing progressive about supporting terrorists or standing idly in the face of evil, and […]

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[…] learned about the trip and reported it here. The trip was kept secret until our story […]

Not Credible
Not Credible
6 months ago

No credibility for these two. Even if they were invited along with other “public servants” from California, their curious behaviour belies their credibility. Ethics start at home or at least in one’s adopted neighborhood

Sassy
Sassy
6 months ago

I’d tell Israelis to lock the silver away and turn the lights out.

What's Reaally Going On Here?
What's Reaally Going On Here?
6 months ago

Why are these two council members not engrossed in their job description ensuring the city functions on all levels for all residents not solely the chosen few of their particular causes? Scoring theoretical points for their next endeavor should require a sterling report card from their current position which they have sworn to uphold in an ethical manner. A focus on a healthy business community along the SMB Commercial corridor and adjacent streets should be #1 top of the list, not continuing to pass restrictive ordinances as if this was Fifth Ave, Manhattan or Champs-Elysees Paris or Bond Street London.… Read more »

DisabilityRights
DisabilityRights
6 months ago

Perhaps an anti-Israel group was the sponsor? It’s not nice that there is no transparency. At the very least, I hope they report this trip as income to the IRS. While disabled residents are abused by greedy landlords and the rent stabilization ordinance made into a joke, we have elected officials consumed in power and greed. Woke politics and anti-semitone is as hypocritical as a vegan eating meat. If they believe keeping an Israel trip secret, then they are utterly and completely anti-Semitic. I am ashamed of these people representing a city.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
6 months ago

This article should be an embarrassment to anyone with critical thinking skills. This article was published making allegations the trip was secret, sponsored by AIPAC, and luxurious. There’s nothing to support any of these allegations, no reported sources, no review of FPPC reports, no review of City travel claims. First, how would WeHoVille know about a trip that’s supposedly so secret? Second, the article had to be updated because one of the allegations being made turned our to be false, so they published an article making allegations without any evidence or sources and without reaching out to either Councilmember or… Read more »

Larry Block
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

The article was printed with first hand knowledge of the trip from an elected official at the County level, along with a number of confirmations of the trip by a person close to the Israeli consulate. WEHOville received three unrelated confirmations of the trip by three residents. The council members involved were reached out to but did not answer. One other council member confirmed the knowledge of the trip and another confirmed both would be present for monday’s meeting. In both texts to both council members neither denied knowledge of the trip. We have not received updates to a correction… Read more »

Eric
Eric
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

So you don’t thinks its strange and out of character that both of them didn’t post anything on their social media, when they are always posting something. What are they hiding? When Erickson visited Israel recently, he posted non stop with lots of positive messages from his visit, but these two go completely dark…..I think your critical thinking skills are to be questioned.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric

You are welcome to question my critical thinking skills all you want, but let me point out that my questioning/criticism of the article resulted in the WeHoVille editor responding with more details about the information they were reporting on and sources. I still find their conclusion far-fetched, but now I have a better understanding of how they came to that conclusion. Although I may technically “follow” all the councilmembers on social media, I do not follow them close enough to know when any of the last posted on anything nor do I know how regularly they post, Had the article… Read more »

Larry Block
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

we have submitted public records requests but these are not congressional delegations that require those CODEL forms. As far as transparency the council members have had an opportunity to clarify and have yet to respond. Perhaps they eloped and do not want to share their personal business.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
6 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry, you’ve served on Boards and Commissions in this City so you should certainly be aware of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in the State of California and this little thing called “Annual Statement of Economic Interests” (aka “Form-700”) that is required (if you weren’t required to complete it on the boards you served on, then you very much lucked out, but it also shows you didn’t pay very close attention during our annual ethics trainings because the Form 700’s are talked about a lot because almost every person with a decision making role throughout government must complete the… Read more »

Larry Block
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

we have submitted public records requests, but transparency among city council members has nothing to do with researching gifts. And as far as reportable, they talk about their trips at every council meeting, where they went, who they saw, two council meetings later, there was one prepared statement by shyne on her instagram which she read verbatim at council and no transparency from byers, you should be able to see that too.

Eric
Eric
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Its out of character for neither of them to post, and I cant imagine that either of them paid their own way, but could be wrong. Bottom line, they went silent, its out of character and this raises a lot of questions and concerns. We are very lucky that we have Wehoville reporting on this and all that they do. Shyne has done so much damage to our City and Byers is about to outdo her, so the more watchdogs we have on them the better.

blueyedguy
blueyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

John Erickson posts continuously. I guess that gig he has with Planned Parenthood, founded by the racist woman, is an easy job subsidized by the US Government. As for Shyne and Byers, there are no posts on Isreal, but if they went to a frog jumping contest in Compton, there would be plenty of images. Byers always posts her travels which are extensive. Does she have a job, or is she a trust fund baby?

Dump BBB
Dump BBB
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Why would they go to Israel? Because they are aggressively woke pathetic political hacks who would go to Cucamonga if they thought they could get a few votes for their future which is bleak considering who they are. Some pay gornplay political organization thinks these two have a future in politics. Secret or not, it’s the blind leading the blind. I’m surprised they didn’t schlep Erickson over there too so the threesome could be together. Horvath would have been on board too if she wasn’t destroying the County of Los Angeles after making West Hollywood such a mess

steph marie
steph marie
6 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

i agree completely. it’s sad almost to read something so pandering insult my intelligence so many times. it’s the e most subjective piece of fiction ever

BrownEyedBoy
BrownEyedBoy
6 months ago

Hmmmm, let’s see if AIPAC will donate to Shlepi’s failed & fraught run for Congress. Shlepi & Buyher are #WeHo’s own Jared Kushner. Whose next the Saudis?!

Unqualified
Unqualified
6 months ago

When one is ill equipped to handle their present job for which they appear unqualified, it is unwise to politic and campaign for their next position for which they are even less qualified. What person of a sound mind would favor either of these two dilettantes and knowingly place their governance in their hands.🙄😨

Tom
Tom
6 months ago

Great, but why pay to bring them back?

Steve Davis
Steve Davis
6 months ago

Wow. The lack of transparency is alarming. This doesn’t feel right at all. If they were representing the city, should they not have shared this with the public ahead of time? And if they weren’t representing the city, why so secretive?

Insidious & Duplicitous
Insidious & Duplicitous
6 months ago

The graceless Sepi Shyne has apparently returned along with her traveling companion. Is she prepared to give a debriefing to the public at City Council? The public should be prepared to share their comments whether or not she does.

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