DeGette Skipping Bibi Netanyahu’s Speech

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Controversy is building in Washington over an address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled for March 3rd–just weeks before Israeli elections, and not invited by President Barack Obama as a breach of diplomatic protocol. Netanyahu's address, pertaining to negotiations with Iran over that country's nuclear program, is controversial in Israel for the same reason, with a majority of Israeli voters saying the speech should be cancelled. Reuters:

The speech has caused controversy in Israel and the United States, where the Democrats and the White House are angry that the Republican speaker, John Boehner, invited Netanyahu to speak at a sensitive time in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and six big powers including Washington, and only two weeks before Israel's closely fought March 17 election.

Following complaints from opposition parties, election chief Salim Joubran decided that Netanyahu's address should be broadcast with a five-minute delay in Israel, giving news editors time to cut any statements deemed partisan…

President Barack Obama, at odds with Netanyahu over the Israeli prime minister's criticism of the nuclear talks, will not meet him during his visit, saying it is a breach of protocol to receive a foreign leader before an election.

As of now, most members of Colorado's delegation reportedly plan to attend Netanyahu's speech, including all the Republicans, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Jared Polis. Rep. Ed Perlmutter hasn't made a public announcement yet. The one Colorado representative who has said she will not attend Netanyahu's speech is…well, we just gave it away, it's Rep. Diana DeGette. Rep. DeGette has a scheduling conflict on March 3rd:

Congresswoman DeGette will not be able to attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech. She has had a long-standing scheduling commitment that morning to address a clinical research group about her 21st Century Cures initiative, and we just learned this morning that the Prime Minister’s speech is scheduled for 11:00, which creates a conflict for her.

Other than a highly one-sided report in the Boulder Jewish News, DeGette's decision to not attend Netanyahu's address hasn't received much press. We expect that will change as long as the speech isn't cancelled, that others will be given many chances to comment, and that Rep. Perlmutter's decision whether or not to attend will be closely watched. It's a longstanding presumption in American politics that categorical public support for Israel is mandatory for any real political viability. The problem with this address to a Republican-dominated Congress is that Netanyahu is making a partisan issue out of something that historically hasn't been. And it's forcing a conflict of loyalties that American supporters of Israel haven't been made to reckon with.

In Israel, Netanyahu has been roundly criticized even by some of his right-wing allies, mostly for appearing to put his ties to the Republican Party ahead of the close relationship Israel has always had with the United States. [Pols emphasis]

It should be noted that attending a speech is not the same thing as agreeing with it. But insofar as Netanyahu is involving Colorado politicians in Israeli domestic politics without their consent, we're obliged to point out that not every friend of Israel is a Likudnik.

Or, for that matter, a Republican.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Good for DeGette!  Why should she be part of this political stunt engineered by Boner and Bibi.  Bibi is in the middle of a re-election campaign.  Is Boner giving equal time to the Israeli opposition parties?  I imagine not.

  2. Andrew Carnegie says:

    DeGette is just another Dem bigot who will not suport Israel.

    • dustpuppy says:

      I'm Jewish, and DeGette is my representative, fucktard, and she is doing the right thing. I'm working on Ed Perlmutter to not to attend either..  I know the family….

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        DP, Obama is selling Israel's security to Iran for their troops on the ground help in Iraq.  He does not care if the Jewish people are eliminated so long as he can claim that he ended the war in Iraq.  Politician who are complicit are also bigots.

        • Duke Cox says:

           He does not care if the Jewish people are eliminated


          What a crock…"eliminated"?? You are suggesting that president Obama wouldn't care if all the Jewish people in the world were killed? And that his attempt to negotiate a nuclear settlement with Iran will result in that…??

          Do you not see how absurd that is..? Do you not understand that such bullshit is exactly why you have zero credibility here? Do you not understand that intelligent people will immediately write you off when you spout such crap? I hope you continue to do so, PissAnt…you continue to set a perfect example for the rest of the public to see clearly just how full of shit you and your Republican friends are.

          Keep 'em coming, fool….and thanks, again, for helping out the progressive community like you do…..

        • Moderatus says:

          Netanyahu hasn't politicized America's relationship with Israel. Obama did that.

        • dustpuppy says:

          Nice anti-Semetic post you made there, asshat.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Congresswoman DeGette is not a bigot. She's not even close to being one. I've known her for over twenty years and have never seen any evidence in her behavior that substantiates your allegation. What's your basis for such a charge?

      • BlueCat says:

        Big oops. This ditto isn't for idiot AC. It's for Frank. It doesn't take a bigot or an anti-Semite to oppose this completely inappropriate little deal between Boner and Bibi to scratch each other's political backs. Many Israeli officials and American Jewish organizations, from the old school Anti Defamation League to the  newer J Street, reflective of the American Jewish majority who are Dems and voted for Obama, oppose Netanyahu's decision to interfere in American domestic politics in order to promote his own political interests. Not that it's working real well.

        Major Israeli newspapers are opposed. A Mossad agent has spoken out about what a bad idea it is. Bibi's numbers are suffering in Israeli polls because of it. He doesn't represent all Jews and neither does any government of the state of Israel. He's just the head of the government now in charge. To oppose his counterproductive policies isn't anti-Semitic.  To insist that all Jews must be lumped together as naturally supporting Bibi so anyone who speaks against him must be a bigot is, in fact, anti-Semitic.

    • This is why Congress should have stayed away from a Bibi speech – and why Republicans went ahead with it. They don't want peace, and they don't want Obama to succeed at anything; cozying up (even more) to Likud and Bibi gets them that – gets them the direct interference in diplomatic affairs with a bit of cover.

      • BlueCat says:

        Bottom line. We can't trust the Bibi alliance as far as we can throw them and Israel needs us a lot more than we need them. Pols behave like all American Jews are united behind Bibi and his hard line policies and they have to appease us to win elections.  Not true. Not even a majority of us are in agreement with the hard liners.

        The GOTP tried to paint Obama as an enemy of Israel in 2012 and he still won 2 out of 3 Jewish voters' votes. So I'd advise our pols to grow a pair and stop letting Bibi call the shots in this relationship.

        Israel wouldn't last 15 minutes without the massive US support it has always received and continues to receive under Obama. No loyal congress person on either side of the aisle should tolerate Bibi's disrespect for our President and our government, whether you like that President or not. They should remember which country they're supposed to owe their allegiance to and they should all boycott Bibi.

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