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March 7, 2015 / 16 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner.’

Want to Tell the BibiCotters What You Think? Here’s How You Can.

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

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

Netanyahu Flies to New York and Washington for ‘Fateful’ Speech

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu boarded a plane for New York late Sunday Morning and will deliver a speech to Congress Tuesday, which he called “fateful and maybe even historic.”

“I feel I am an emissary for all citizens of Israel, including those who disagree with me,” he told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport.

He reiterated that he “will do everything” to maintain Israel’s security.

Snow will await the Prime Minister when he lands Sunday morning, New York time.

He will address the annual AIPAC conference on Monday, where U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice also will speak. Last week, she termed Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress “destructive.”

House Speaker John Boehner invited the Prime Minister, an invitation that sparked outrage at the White House and from Netanyahu’s foes in the Knesset election campaign, especially the merged parties headed by Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni and the Israeli media establishment.

Yediot Acharonot, the country’s largest newspaper, and Kol Yisrael (Reshet Bet) have strongly slanted their coverage against Netanyahu for years and even more so after it was announced he will speak to Congress.

A cold rain is forecast in Washington on Tuesday, symbolic of the Obama administration’s view of Netanyahu.

His address will be broadcast in Israel with a five-minute delay so Election Committee officials can censor any comments that they think are a campaign speech.

He will return to Israel early Wednesday morning, just in time for Purim.

House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner hit back on Thursday at U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who characterized next week’s address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “destructive.”

Boehner challenged her remarks, saying that in fact, the situation was quite the opposite.

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress,” Boehner told reporters on Thursday.

“I couldn’t disagree more. The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way,” Boehner said.

The invitation by the Speaker came directly, without a first pass by the White House or the State Department, which presidential staff members have censured as a breach of protocol.

The prime minister maintains that Iran’s skyrocketing nuclear development and the pending agreement being arranged by the United States and world leaders with Tehran presents Israel with a clear existential threat. As such, Netanyahu said he cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to directly discuss the danger to Israel with America’s lawmakers.

Rice said Tuesday the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address the joint session of Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

Boehner disagreed, saying, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

The Speaker insisted that it is important for the American people to hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say about the grave threats Israel faces.

“I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there” to hear it, Boehner said.

Both Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samatha Power, are expected to address the AIPAC annual convention which begins on Sunday, and where Netanyahu is also scheduled to appear.

Christians United Launch ‘Attend Bibi’s Speech’ Campaign, What about Jewish Groups?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

The Christians United for Israel organization posted the message on its website and sent emails to its two million members, urging its followers to send e-letters imploring their elected representatives to attend Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress on March 3.

The short sample letter explains that Netanyahu was invited by Speaker of the House John Boehner, and the issue about which Netanyahu will speak, Iran, is of critical importance. CUFI seeks to reach all congressional members, and hopes to persuade even those members who disagree with Netanyahu’s position to consider their constituents’ views.

The text of CUFI’s short sample letter is clear: “I can think of no issue more important for America, Israel and the West than our response to Iran’s nuclear efforts. And I can think of no voice on this issue more important than the Prime Minister of our front-line ally, Israel.”

The CUFI sample letter ends with a poignant plea: “Please don’t let partisan politics and petty excuses keep you from fulfilling the most basic of responsibilities of your office.”

The website links to the email accounts, by zip code, of letter writers’ congressional representatives.

SUPPORT OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS?

What about the Jewish organizations?

The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, and the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rick Jacobs, said it was a bad idea for Netanyahu to speak before Congress in March.

The American Jewish Committee has nothing on its website about the speech, nor does the Jewish Federations of North America, or the Conference of Presidents.

Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America. blasted the ADL and Reform Judaism leadership for criticizing Netanyahu’s acceptance of Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He also called out the leadership of the American Israeli Public Affairs Council and the American Jewish Committee for remaining silent on the speech issue.

The ZOA is pleading with its colleagues to support Israeli PM Netanyahu, Democratic Senator Menendez, Majority Leader John Boehner, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee Elliot Engel, and so many others to provide PM Netanyahu with this major forum to move us, to edify us, to inspire us to do more to stop this Nazi-like radical Islamic Republic of Iran from achieving weapons that could murder millions of Jews, Christians, Americans,  Europeans and others.

By not supporting Israel’s Prime Minister and Congress, we are sending a terrible message to Iran that we are not unified and strong in our resolve against this deadly enemy.

The ZOA’s Klein was focused on the leadership of other organizations; his group did not send out an action alert on the topic or call on its members to make their views known to Congress.

It appears that of the Jewish pro-Israel organizations, only two have done what CUFI has. The Washington, D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth sent out action alert emails and placed on its website a request for members to call their congressional representatives to ensure they attend Netanyahu’s March 3 speech.

The New York-based Americans For a Safe Israel not only called on its members to urge their representatives in Congress to attend Netanyahu’s speech, but also to contact representatives who have said they will boycott the speech to express their outrage.

That’s a pretty short list.

UPDATE: The Republican Jewish Coalition also had a petition calling on its members to join in supporting “Bibi and Boehner to stand up to Iran.”

Poll: Americans Divided by Race and Party on Netanyahu in Congress

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Most Americans think that President Barack Obama should meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he visits the United States next month, but a large plurality disapproves of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for him to speak in Congress, according to a new poll.

The different results made interesting reading for Israeli newspaper readers, with Haaretz headlining that “Americans Disapprove on Netanyahu Invitation to Netanyahu” and the Times of Israel offering ” Poll: Most Americans think Obama should meet PM in March.”

Both headlines are correct but neither one tells the whole story.

Details of the poll, carried out by the British-based YouGov in association with the Huffington Post, revealed a sharp split along racial lines.

Concerning whether it was “appropriate” for Boehner to invite Netanyahu two weeks before the Israeli elections:

All respondents: Inappropriate – 47 percent

Appropriate: – 30 percent

Blacks and Hispanics: Inappropriate – 67 percent

Appropriate – 12 percent.

An even sharper difference was shown when respondents were asked if their local Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech:

All respondents  Yes – 46 percent

No – 24 percent

Black respondents: Yes – 16 percent

No – 47 percent

More than half of the respondents – 58 percent – said that President Barack Obama should meet with the Prime Minister , something which the president has said he will not do, while most Afro-Americans said Obama should not meet with him.

Not surprisingly, half of Republican respondents said their Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech, while only 30 percent of Democrats agreed.

Black Congressmen Give Racist Spin to ‘Boycott Bibi’ Movement

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Most of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will take a rain check when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to Congress on March 3, Politico reported Wednesday.

Not only will the audience be mostly Republican, it also will be almost all-white.

The CBC’s only Senator, Cory Booker of New Jersey, has not committed himself to stay away or attend the joint session where Netanyahu will speak.

Many black Congressmen will stay away on an individual basis and not as a group protest by the CBC.

Reps. Barbara Lee  of California, Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota and Donna Edwards of Maryland are among those who said they will not attend the joint session of Congress when Netanyahu speaks.

CBC member Rep. Maxine Waters of Maryland has co-signed a letter with Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen to call on House Speaker John Boehner to postpone the speech.

“To me, it is somewhat of an insult to the president of the United States,” New York Rep. Greg Meeks, a black Democrat, said earlier this week after leaving a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President  Joe Biden, who plans to be out of the country while Netanyahu speaks.

Meeks added:

Barack Obama is my president, he’s the nation’s president, and it is clear therefore that I’m not going to be there, as a result of that, not as a result of the good people of Israel.

The CBC’s negative reaction on the one hand splits the traditional Jewish-black political alliance but on the other hand is in line with the sentiments of the liberal American Jewish establishment that is critical of Boehner and of Netanyahu for scheduling the speech two weeks before Israeli elections.

Netanyahu has made it clear he will talk about the Iranian nuclear threat, which President Obama insists is exaggerated and which he can contain through diplomacy and without stiffer economic sanctions.

Black Congressman can easily rely on Jewish groups to back their boycott position.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) director Abraham Foxman has called Netanyahu’s scheduled speech a “tragedy,” and even the conservative AIPAC lobby has been strangely silent.

Black Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said, “It’s not just about disrespect for the president, it’s disrespect for the American people and our system of government for a foreign leader to insert himself into an issue that our policy makers are grappling with. It’s not simply about President Obama being a black man disrespected by a foreign leader. It’s deeper than that.”

The CBC made it clear many of its members are boycotting only the speech in Congress and not Netanyahu.

North Carolina Rep. G. K. Butterfield, chairman of CBC, told reporters that the black caucus is in contact with Israeli officials, including Ambassador Ron Dermer, to meet with the Prime Minister during his visit.

Dermer is a sore point for Democrats because he is a Republican. Johnson called Dermer a “long-time, right-wing political hack” whom he is not interested in meeting,

 

Netanyahu Hedges Bets Over Speech to US Congress

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

It looks like Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking for a safety net to deal with the mounting controversy over his agreement to address the U.S. Congress on March 3.

“It appears that the Speaker of Congress made a move in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one-sided move and not a move by both sides,” HaNegbi said. However, when asked whether Netanyahu should cancel or postpone his address, HaNegbi asked, “What would be the outcome then? The outcome would be that we forsake an arena in which there is going to be a very dramatic decision (meaning Iran).”

A Netanyahu spokesman declined to comment on HaNegbi’s comments on Friday. HaNegbi is a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

It is clear the Likud is doing what it can to diffuse any political fallout from the controversy. The White House is working very hard to prevent him from speaking to Congress or being re-elected; Netanyahu is apparently perceived as a threat to Pres. Barack Obama, though it is not clear how or why.

Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer arranged the date with GOP House Speaker John Boehner months ago, setting the address originally for Feb. 11, but changing it to March 3, the same week as the annual AIPAC conference.

The date was set without consulting the White House or anyone from the Democratic Party leadership, skipping the usual protocol – a move which infuriated both President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders.

But what’s upset the White House even more is the topic of the address: Netanyahu has been invited to address the Congress on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. The speech is to be delivered less than a month from the deadline for an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear development activities being discussed with Tehran by world powers.

Obama and his supporters are deeply concerned that Netanyahu could sabotage those talks and derail that agreement, which he has worked hard to achieve.

Netanyahu, for his part, is indeed hoping he can do just that. The Israeli prime minister has underscored in every public address he has made for months the gravity of the situation with Iran, and the existential threat its nuclear development program presents to Israel. Netanyahu is determined to do everything in his power to dial back that agreement, which he insists allows the Iranians to retain the ability to create an atomic weapon of mass destruction with very little additional effort.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-hedges-bets-over-speech-to-us-congress/2015/02/07/

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