Tens of US Democrats Pledge to Skip Netanyahu’s Congress Speech

WASHINGTON DC, March 3, 2015 (WAFA) – Around 60 Democrat congress members pledged to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controversial speech which is set to be delivered to a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Joe Biden and a number of top Democrats skipping the session.

According to The Hill, as of this morning, 56 Democrats are skipping the speech, including GOP Rep. Walter Jones (NC-3) who told C-SPAN that he will skip the speech as well. Several other Members of Congress have privately confirmed to constituents that they will not attend the speech either.

More than 10 percent of Congress, and more than 25 percent of the Democratic caucus, has opted to skip Netanyahu’s speech, an unprecedented breach in the historically bipartisan US-Israel relationship.

On its part, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation expressed appreciation for the more than 60 Members of Congress who have pledged to skip Netanyahu’s speech.

The campaign is a national coalition of more than 400 organizations working to change US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians to support human rights, international law and equality.

Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director, stated: “The many Representatives and Senators who took the decision to skip the speech should be applauded.”

He said that such a move would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Munayyer noted, “The message they are sending to the Israeli prime minister is that they will not stand for his shenanigans. And the message that they are sending to their constituents is that they hear their concerns about it.”

Meanwhile, Policy Director Josh Ruebner said, “The more than 60 Members of Congress who are skipping Netanyahu’s speech are to be commended for not going along with the Boehner-Israel ploy to undermine President Obama’s negotiations with Iran.”

“Although no Members of Congress are boycotting Netanyahu’s speech in protest of Israel’s horrible human rights record toward Palestinians, the growing partisan divide around US-Israel relations should and must open a much-needed debate about our how our country’s unconditional diplomatic and military support of Israel denies Palestinians self-determination,” he explained.