Diplomacy

Former Democratic Senator: Attending Netanyahu Speech Not a Partisan Matter

Writing that “determining how best to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and not just another Washington test of partisan and political loyalty,” former Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman urged all members of his party to attend Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress next week in an op-ed published Sunday in The Washington Post. Though Lieberman’s appeal was directed explicitly towards the 23 members of Congress who are urging Speaker of the House John Boehner (R – Ohio) to postpone the speech, the points he made apply to all legislators.

… there is too much on the line in the negotiations with Iran for members of Congress to decide not to listen to what Netanyahu, or any other ally, has to say on this subject. Just as British Prime Minister David Cameron deserved respectful attention when he called individual members of Congress recently to ask them to delay adopting more sanctions on Iran, and the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain deserved respectful reading when they made the same appeal to Congress in an op-ed in The Post, so too does the prime minister of Israel deserve to be listened to respectfully by members of Congress when he speaks next week.

At this very unstable moment in history, we cannot and must not avert our attention from what remains the greatest threat to the security of America and the world.

One of Lieberman’s appeals was directed specifically towards members of Congress. He urged them to attend “because you know that the Constitution gives you, as a member of Congress, the power to ‘regulate commerce with foreign nations,’ ‘define and punish . . . offenses against the law of nations,’ ‘declare war,’ ‘raise and support armies’ and ‘provide and maintain a Navy,’ and Netanyahu might say some things that will inform your exercise of those great powers.”

Last week, current Senator Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) also urged his fellow Democrats to attend Netanyahu’s speech.

[Photo: Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff / Flickr ]