“Washington, D.C. – Several influential Democratic senators said on Wednesday they and other senators are considering boycotting an upcoming speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest the decision by House Republicans to disregard protocol and invite the foreign leader without the involvement and blessing of the White House.
“Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, who is also a close ally of President Barack Obama, said: “colleagues of mine are very concerned about it and I’m troubled by it. I won’t name names, of course. It’s a serious mistake by the speaker and the prime minister. The relationship between Israel and the United States has been so strong, so bipartisan.”
“Durbin said he hasn’t decided whether to attend the March 3 speech to a joint meeting of Congress. In his address, Netanyahu is expected to criticize the controversial negotiations the Obama administration is spearheading with Iran aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Those talks face a critical deadline at the end of March.
“Durbin said, referring to Republican House Speaker John Boehner who invited Netanyahu: “one of my closest friends – one of the strongest supporters of Israel – described this Boehner tactic a disaster, a terrible disaster for Israel. I won’t speak for any other members but they’ve been talking to me about what is the right way to react to what could turn out to be a divisive event.”
In an interview with Newslo, President Obama stated that he would “take similar actions in retribution if the Israeli Prime Minster doesn’t cancel his address to Congress by the end of February.”
“I’ve always felt Netanyahu was a wise man, but how he figured to get away with this, and scot-free at that, just eludes me,” Obama said. “I try to be a man of diplomacy and not a man of conflict, but if this is how Bibi wants to play, he’s going to have his hands full.”
“Netanyahu has until the end of February to cancel his address, or not only will I make sure the Democrats boycott his speech, but I will also make an appointment to appear at the Israeli parliament right after. Is this a threat, you ask? You’re damn right it is,” the President concluded.