U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who has represented St. Paul and its suburbs in Congress since 2001, says she won’t attend a joint session of Congress next month to hear a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The March 3 speech is two weeks before the election in Israel. McCollum says it will be “nothing more than a campaign event.”
More than a dozen other congressional Democrats have now said they won’t attend, either, says The Hill.
Netanyahu said this week that he is “determined” to present the case for why Israel opposed the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran “before the members of Congress and the American people.”
The White House isn’t excited about the speech, either. It was scheduled by House Speaker John Boehner without consultation with President Obama and The Hill says that was a violation of protocol “both because the White House wasn’t involved and because it comes just two weeks before Israel’s own elections.”
“I think it’s important for us to maintain these protocols — because the U.S.-Israeli relationship is not about a particular party,” Obama said Monday.
McCollum was quoted by the AP as saying she finds it “very disturbing” that the Israeli leader will be allowed to address Congress “for the sole purpose of undermining a foreign policy priority shared by the Obama administration and our European allies to score political points at home.”