Diplomacy

House Democrats’ Appeal for Delay in Netanyahu Speech Garners Only 23 of 188 Members

A letter circulated by “the most left-leaning” Democratic members of the House of Representatives urging a delay in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month garnered the signatures of only 23 of the 188 Democratic representatives.

The Associated Press reported:

Almost two dozen liberal Democrats on Thursday asked House Speaker John Boehner to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress next month.

“It appears that you are using a foreign leader as a political tool against the President,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Boehner. …

Generally speaking, the lawmakers who signed the letter are among the most left-leaning Democrats, representing 12 percent of their party’s House membership. It was written by Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Maxine Waters of California and signed by 20 others.

The report about the Democratic letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio) emerged at the same that Senator Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) urged his fellow Democrats not to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Leading Democratic Senator Charles Schumer called on his fellow Democrats on Thursday to attend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress next month, saying the Israel-US relationship should “transcend” any political differences.

“It’s always been a bipartisan policy,” Schumer said of the US-Israel relationship.

“Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it, we ought to keep it that way.”

While implying that Boehner could have handled the invitation differently, Schumer said in a radio interview that Netanyahu, as an ally who is “’helping us fight terrorism,’ has ‘every right to come here and speak, but he ought to do it in a bipartisan manner.’”

A poll released earlier this week shows strong support among Americans for having Netanyahu speak before Congress as scheduled.

The polling numbers reflect the views of a recent New York Daily News editorial that urged politicians to “put global security and solidarity ahead of petty, partisan one-upmanship.” Similarly, David Hazony, editor of The Tower, recently wrote that “there is nothing partisan” about the threat Iran poses to the United States and its allies.

[Photo: Mike Maguire / Flickr ]