McCollum Will Not Attend Israeli Prime Minister's Address to Congress
Washington, DC – On March 3rd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress, just weeks before the Israeli people vote in their national election. The Prime Minister was invited to address the joint session by Speaker John Boehner. The invitation was not shared with President Obama – in violation of the standard protocol for visits by foreign heads of state. The United States is joined by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China in ongoing nuclear talks with Iran which Prime Minister Netanyahu opposes. It is expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu would use his audience in front of Congress to voice his opposition to those talks.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) released the following statement regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address:
“As a Member of Congress, the national security interests of the United States are my highest priority. So, I find it very disturbing when a foreign leader in the midst of a campaign for re-election is 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. In my view Mr. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is nothing more than a campaign event hosted by Speaker Boehner and paid for by the American people. Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election campaign is not my concern, but politicizing and damaging the U.S.-Israeli relationship by aligning his government with Republicans in Congress against President Obama is something I completely reject. For these reasons, I will not be attending his address to a joint session of Congress next month.”
Congresswoman McCollum is the ranking Democratic member on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Democratic co-chair of the Native American Caucus.