Photo Credit: Gili Ya'ari / Flash 90
US Vice President Joe Biden says Israel must rely on its own military power when facing Iran.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is skipping town on March 3, and avoiding the proverbial ‘tempest in a teapot’ he fears will occur when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a rare joint session of Congress.

It is the role of the vice president, as president of the Senate to attend joint meetings of the Congress. But Biden did miss one other session, however, in 2011, according to the White House.

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Biden’s office confirmed to NBC News on Friday that he will be traveling abroad at the time of Netanyahu’s speech, but could not say where or why. As NBC News journalist Steve Benen observed, “It’s hardly unreasonable to wonder if this is the diplomatic equivalent if ‘I’m washing my hair – somewhere.’”

“We are not ready to announce details of his trip yet, and normally our office wouldn’t announce this early, but the planning process has been underway for a while,” a spokesperson for the office explained to Politico.com.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she was “seriously considering going” and that it was her “intention to go” although she was still her “hope that the event will not take place. There’s serious unease.”

Three other prominent House Democrats – Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon – plan to skip the session.

Last Wednesday seven Jewish Democrats met with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to discuss the controversy, caused in part because the speech was arranged with Dermer by GOP House Speaker John Boehner several months ago, without consulting the White House.

The proximity of the session to Israel’s national elections is also a concern – but far more threatening to the White House, apparently, is the proximity of the speech to the deadline in talks with world leaders for an agreement with Iran on its nuclear development program.

Israel’s prime minister has openly opposed the wide-ranging agreement being discussed by the U.S. and world leaders with Iran, which grants Tehran far more flexibility with its uranium enrichment activities than reasonable or safe, according to military experts.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

131 COMMENTS

  1. Dear people of Israel I am an American citizen and the I apologize for my government who are cowards most u.s citizens support you we citizens of America love and appreciate you. I wish there was a way our government would allow us to fight alongside you

  2. This is really disrespectful… Any person in Congress who doesn’t show up, including Biden, is behaving in an extremely inappropriate manner.
    I am contacting my US Senator and US Rep to recommend they attend if they want my vote.

    I will not support elected officials who are so disrespectful, immature, and rude toward the nation of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, that they refuse to hold their responsibilities as elected officials seriously enough to attend his speech and listen to whatever he has to say including anything he may say on terrorism, Hamas, and Iran, etc., all of which are relevant to the lives of Jews and Christians and all Americans.

    As a Christian, I bless Israel and I bless the Jews. I will always stand in support of and as a friend to Israel and all Jews.

  3. I stand with Israel now and forever from USA and thank all the friends of Israel for their support. You are either with Israel or you are with the terrorists. Below is proven by Archaeology all over Israel: 1. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam. 2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel. 3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years. 4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years. 5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit. 6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran. 7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem. 8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem. 9. In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. 10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution, and slaughter. 11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same. 12. Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey. 13. The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won. 14. The PLO’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them. 15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths. 16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel. 17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel. 18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians. 19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. 20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. David Nolan”

  4. Biden ur a pun in Obama president u take ur orders from a muslim that really hates Israel Nd Netanyahu ,U Biden donn’t have a mind of ur own ,u know Obama is cheating Israel behind there back ,that is why ur going out of town . Biden U and Obama are trying to make Netanyahu and Israel look bad , Obama gave Iran a good deal ,IRAN IS LAUGHING ON FACEBOOK AT Obama saying that he is hard up 4 a deal and they will get to keep there nuclear ,

  5. American bipartisan support for Israel is crucial to Israel in so many ways. Despite my dislike for Obama’s dysfunctional and catastrophic foreign policy, Israel cannot become a wedge issue between the Democrats and Republicans. This speech needs to not happen.

  6. American bipartisan support for Israel is crucial to Israel in so many ways. Despite my dislike for Obama’s dysfunctional and catastrophic foreign policy, Israel cannot become a wedge issue between the Democrats and Republicans. This speech needs to not happen.

  7. This former friend of Israel is a liar, hypocrite and is excrement. He has no integrity, dignity and should be despised by all honorable and intelligent people. Most obviously, he is a COWARD. Running away and hiding from PM Netanyahu. How disgusting is he? So disgusting that I have no words.

  8. Joe Biden is a fraud and a disgrace to the American People. His boss did his understudy with his mentor Frank Marshall Davis a Proclaimed Communist, Pornographer, and hater of America. They have given rise to the dire situation in the Middle East pushing Israel and now Jordan to the brink of major War. The men are Evil, Greedy and very dangerous!

  9. He serves Obamination so what do you expect. Netanyahu has to come and speak on behalf of Israel. This should be his only interest. Obamination is only trying to make an accomplishment reputation for himself even if he leads our country and Israel into disaster.

  10. If he doesn't hear what PM Netanyahu has to say, he can claim no responsibility for the consequences of not advocating putting the brakes on Iran's nuclear capabilities. "Gosh darn, folks… I didn't know!" Will we last another two years of this administration?

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