Has Israel’s govt recruited a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee?

He should not have security clearance. That’s just common sense,” a former Special Forces officer warned after Rep. Brian Mast showed up to work in an Israeli military uniform.

Brian Mast, a member of the United States Congress seated on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, showed up for work this October 13 clad in the uniform of the Israeli military. 

“As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” the evangelical Christian Republican posted on X around 10:30 in the morning.

Mast went on to attack his Palestinian American colleague, Rep Rashida Tlaib, declaring, “Tlaib’s got her flag. I got my uniform. ‘Global Day of Rage’ my ass.”

Mast’s publicity stunt not only highlighted his flamboyant support for an army that has killed 600 children since its assault on the besieged Gaza Strip began on October 8. It also raised the question of how a member of the Congress could proudly serve in a foreign military, then wear its uniform to work, after swearing an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Is it appropriate that someone who has served in a foreign military be allowed to return to the United States and serve on such a sensitive government committee, earning a security clearance along the way?

“Anyone who has worked with the Israelis is briefed that they will attempt to elicit, collect, and recruit from Americans,” a former US Special Operations officer who asked to remain anonymous explained to The Grayzone. “He should not have security clearance. That’s just common sense.”

Having previously served the US military in Afghanistan, Mast volunteered as a bomb disposal specialist for the Israeli army during its 2014 assault on the Gaza Strip. The 51-day assault known as “Operation Protective Edge” resulted in widespread destruction of civilian homes as well as the death of 2202 Palestinians including 526 children.

“I learned a tremendous amount over there just through that experience being on base, being in uniform being next to all of the the service members of the [Israeli army] at that time,” Mast gushed in a June 2020 interview with the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute, explaining that he was inspired to join the foreign army after being triggered by pro-Palestine protests on campus during his time at Harvard. 

Mast then traveled to Israel under a military program known as Sar-El, which assists Israeli citizens living abroad and, less typically, foreign nationals such as Mast in volunteering for the Israeli army without directly enlisting. Though the Israeli army does not accept non-Jew enlistees, Sar-El enables evangelical Christians like Mast and other non-Jews to fight alongside Israel’s apartheid army. 

“One of the terms I’ve learned since being here is ‘achim’—the term ‘brothers.’ I think that we in the US and those here in Israel, I think we are brothers,” Mast told Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in a 2014 profile heralding him as a “US Veteran” who became an “Israeli Hero.”

Following his stint in Israel’s military, Mast moved to South Florida and immediately launched his political career. He currently represents Florida’s 21st District located along the state’s Treasure Coast, which boasts the highest concentration of Jewish voters, most of which are over 65 years of age, in the country. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is by far Mast’s largest single donor, showering his campaign with $101,843 during the latest recorded spending cycle (2021-2022) alone. Retirees make up Mast’s largest industry donor, supplying him with $1,428,765 during that same period. The “Pro-Israel” lobby is listed as Mast’s 5th largest “industry” supporter, pumping $138,866 into his political coffers between 2021 and 2022. 

Mast also attained the distinction of the second-best stock trading record in Congress, thanks largely to an “unusually timed” and ethically suspect deal.

In 2020, Mast voted in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which would have decriminalized marijuana at the federal level.

Just before that vote, the congressman snapped up shares in the cannabis research company Tilray. After the House passed the bill, Tilray’s stock soared, ensuring Mast a 564% rate of return on his investment.