ZOA Critical Of Congressional Dems Who Boycotted Israeli PM’s Address To Congress
News Press Release
March 5, 2015

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized the 8 Democratic Senators and 48 Democratic House Members who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress yesterday. This means that 18% of Democratic Senators and 26% of Democratic House Members boycotted the Netanyahu address in deference to President Barack Obama’s desire that Congress not give the Israeli Prime Minister a platform to address the vital issue of a possible, dangerous and deeply flawed agreement with Iran that would enable Iran to become initially a nuclear threshold state and, later, an unfettered nuclear power, endangering both the U.S. and Israel.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It was always nonsense that President Obama wasn’t meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu or objecting to his address to Congress due to the proximity of Israeli elections.

“Without any upcoming speech to Congress to rationalize his pique, President Obama also declined to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during his September 2012 visit to the U.S.

After all, the day Iran becomes a nuclear power, America, Europe and the whole world will be obliged to live under the  shadow of nuclear blackmail.

“Yet, President Obama was happy for British Prime Minister David Cameron speak to Congressmen in support of his Iran policy. But he deeply objected to Mr. Netanyahu expressing his understandable concerns about his Iran policy to Members of Congress. So much for an honest conversation among allies.

“Moreover, Mr. Netanyahu’s address — and the invitation to give it that he accepted from House Speaker John Boehner — was not set by Israeli electoral politics. It was set by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said  that the U.S. and Iran would have to conclude a framework deal by the end of this month.

“When else was Mr. Netanyahu to address the issue in a speech to Congress? Next month, after a deal might already be a fait accompli?

“We are deeply critical of those Members of Congress who chose the partisanship of siding with President Obama in his hostile attitude towards Israel and its sincere concerns over the dangerous direction of his Iran policy — a policy that endangers the U.S., not only Israel — rather than hear from the elected leader of a close American ally, an expert on Iranian nukes whose country that stands to be in the greatest danger by Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state.

“The fact is that Iran poses not only an existential threat to Israel, but also to the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

“If Iran gets nukes, the Middle East will become a scene of nuclear proliferation by several regimes — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It is therefore not surprising that Arab commentators, who’d would ordinarily never endorse anything an Israeli Prime Minister says, have supported Mr. Netanyahu’s position and chastised President Obama.

“Thus, in an op-ed for the Saudi Arabian daily Al-Jazirah, columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Farajasserted that Netanyahu ‘is right to insist on addressing Congress about the nuclear deal …  I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury … I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents.’

“Also, the editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English, Faisal J. Abbas, published a column on Tuesday entitled, ‘President Obama, Listen to Netanyahu on Iran,’ in which he asked Obama to take notes from Netanyahu on the extent of the Iranian threat and also said, ‘one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran … [he][he] managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other US allies in the region … What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayotallah Ali Khamenei.’

“Then there is the threat to America itself. The Iranian regime and their violently anti-American demonstrations and rallies include calling for ‘Death to America’ and describing the U.S. as ‘The Great Satan.’ the Iranian Defense Ministry called the U.S. ‘the Number One enemy’ in a report issued as recently as in November 2014 — in the midst of negotiations with the U.S. In a military exercise, the Iranians bombed a mock American carrier — again, in the midst of negotiations with the U.S.

“Iran continues to develop Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), whose only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads and whose logical target is the U.S. After all, Iran doesn’t need ICBMs to reach Israel. It can already reach Israel with its existing missiles. According to reports, Iran will have ICBMs with the range to strike America within a year.

“So the Iranian threat is not only about Israel. After all, the day Iran becomes a nuclear power, America, Europe and the whole world will be obliged to live under the  shadow of nuclear blackmail. And even if Iran never fires nuclear-tipped ICBMs at the U.S., who really believes Iran won’t give such weapons to terrorists? And who believes that, once having such weapons, terrorists won’t use them on the U.S.? And even if neither uses them, what unending series of concessions and retreats will America have to undertake to ensure that this continues?

“To avoid hearing the Prime Minister’s address on a vital issue was a dereliction of their duty to do all they can to protect Americans, which includes listening to world expert like Mr. Netanyahu on Iranian nukes, a subject which affects the security of every American.”

“I’m especially disappointed that so many members of the Black Congressional Caucus boycotted this speech, an act which showed great disrespect to the Jewish state and its prime minister.

The 8 Democratic Senators Who Didn’t Attend:

Al Franken (Minn.)

Tim Kaine (Va.)

Patrick Leahy (Vt.)

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Brian Schatz (Hawaii)

Martin Heinrich (N.M.)

Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)

Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

The 48 Democratic House Members Who Didn’t Attend:

Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)

Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)

Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)

Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)

Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)

Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.)

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)

Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.)

Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)

Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)

Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)

Rep. Denny Heck (Wash.)

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (Texas)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)

Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)

Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)

Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)

Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)

Reps. Jim McGovern (Mass.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)

Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)

Rep. David Price (N.C.)

Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)

Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)

Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

 

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