A break in the Democratic boycott of Netanyahu
Two senior Democratic Senators are breaking from the Obama administration's boycott of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Dianne Feinstein (California) and Richard Durbin (Illinois)
have asked to meet with the Prime Minister. But they're still critical of the manner in which Netanyahu was invited.
Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein
extended the invitation "to maintain Israel's dialogue with both
political parties in Congress," according to a letter to the Israeli
leader seen by Reuters.
"This unprecedented move threatens to
undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel - which as
long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply," Durbin and
deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan
points - something that should never be done with Israeli security and
which we fear could have lasting repercussions," they said.
The two senators have not indicated publicly whether they planned to be at the Israeli leader's address, their spokesmen said.
Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S.
Senate. Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992, is the top
Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the
Appropriations and Judiciary committees.
The letter was sent on Monday evening. The Israeli Embassy did not have an immediate response to the invitation.
Bloomberg adds (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“To maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties
in Congress, we invite you to a closed-door meeting with
Democratic senators during your upcoming visit to Washington,”
Durbin and Feinstein wrote Monday. “We believe such a venue
would be a wholly appropriate opportunity to discuss the range
of issues that face our two countries.”
Twenty-three House Democrats urged Boehner in a letter last
week to postpone the speech. They said the speaker was “using a
foreign leader as a political tool against” Obama.
The House Democrats’ letter questioned whether Boehner was
using Netanyahu’s appearance to persuade lawmakers to back new
sanctions against Iran despite a veto threat from Obama.
To listen to the House Democrats, they don't believe it would ever be appropriate for Netanyahu to weigh in on Iran. That's just plain wrong. In the overall scheme of things, Israel has much more at stake in Iran (our very existence) than the United States has.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, John Boehner, joint session of Congress