The following members of Congress have confirmed that they refuse to attend Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday. There are four Senators and 31 House members. In addition to their names, however, we have provided their twitter handles, their Washington office address and their phone and fax numbers for their Washington offices. Just in case you want to tell them what you think.
In addition to the contact information, we endeavored to provide you with a little insight as to why these particular members of Congress have chosen to Bibicott.
U.S. SENATORS WHO ARE BIBICOTTING ON MARCH 3
UPDATE: Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM) is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech.
Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) @SenKaineOffice 388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510Phone: (202) 224-4024 Fax: (202) 228-6363
On July 31, 2014, Sen. Kaine joined with other members of Congress in denouncing the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council “to launch a one-sided investigation into Israel’s actions during the current conflict while ignoring actions by Hamas that threaten the lives of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including indiscriminate rocket attacks and the widespread use of human shields in Gaza.” The letter is a strong one and none of the other signers are on the no-show list for Netanyahu’s speech. He has made thoughtful and supportive comments about Israel in the past.
UPDATE: Sen. Kaine’s office sent The Jewish Press a statement from the Senator explaining his decision to boycott the speech. Kaine wrote on Feb. 25 that although a long-time supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, he believes Netanyahu’s address to Congress is inappropriate because of the proximity to the Israeli elections. Kaine had suggested to Speaker Boehner that the speech be postponed until after the Israeli elections so “there was no appearance of U.S. favoritism in a foreign election.” Sen. Kaine was a J Street-endorsed candidate in 2012.
UPDATE: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is boycotting the speech.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) @SenatorLeahy Sen Sntr D.C. Office 437 Russell Senate Bldg United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 (202) 224-4242 On Feb. 10 Sen. Leahy issued a brief statement on why he will not attend Netanyahu’s speech. Leahy placed the full blame on the Republican House leaders: “They have orchestrated a tawdry and high-handed stunt that has embarrassed not only Israel but the Congress itself. It has long been an unwritten rule and practice through the decades that when it comes to American foreign policy, we speak and act thoughtfully, with one voice when we can, with the national interests of the United States as our uppermost consideration, and with caution about the unintended consequences of unilateral actions like this. They have diminished that valuable precedent.” The Senator ignored Israel entirely in his statement.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) @SenSanders 332 Dirksen Building D.C. 20510 tel (202) 224-5141 fax (202) 228-0776 Sen. Sanders has a strongly anti-Netanyahu speech PBS clip on his website. Which was posted on Feb. 27. Sanders appears briefly in the clip, saying that the speech “politicizes foreign policy in this country in a way that it shouldn’t.” When the interviewer asks Sanders, point blank, “what about Prime Minister Netanyahu, did he cross the line here?” Sanders says: “the answer is yes. I don’t think it is a good idea for the Prime Minister of Israel to come here, to the floor of Congress, and trash the president of the United States.” Sanders is Jewish.
Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) @SenBrianSchatz 85% left 722 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Ph: (202) 224-3934 F: (202) 228-1153 This relatively new senator has not issued a formal statement about why he is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. Schatz reportedly told the AP that he was skipping the speech because it was arranged with “the apparent purpose of undermining President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.” Schatz was sworn in on a Hebrew Bible. He must not have read the Book of Joshua. Schatz filled the vacancy created when Sen. Daniel Inouye died. Schatz’s predecessor, a stalwart supporter of Israel, must be rolling in his grave. Schatz was a J Street-endorsed candidate in 2014.
MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE BIBICOTTING ON MARCH 3