Jewish Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) announces that she will not attend Netanyahu’s speech.
“After much thought, I have made the decision not to attend Prime Benjamin Minister Netanyahu’s (sic) March 3 scheduled address before a joint session of Congress, while still hoping it will either be postponed to a more appropriate date or delivered in a closed session,” she writes on her site.
“As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA. Throughout my nine terms in the US House, I have advocated that Congress and the Administration stand with Israel in a bi-partisan way to protect Israel’s security and very right to exist. I strongly agree with both the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the United States that Iran can never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon.
“As an eight year member of the House Intelligence Committee, I know for a fact that our security and intelligence agencies have never worked more closely, making it all the harder to swallow the Prime Minister coming to lobby our Congress, in the most public and heretofore prestigious settings, to reject U.S. efforts to peacefully eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran. As Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, said: ‘Netanyahu’s position will not change the West’s position on the Iranian issue, but his actions bring our relationship with the Americans to an extreme point and this might extract an unbearable price from us in the future.’ In talking to my Democratic colleagues, I believe this is not an idle concern.
“There is still time to reschedule or relocate the speech. Prime Minister Netanyahu, his Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, and House Speaker John Boehner should immediately rethink this dangerous mistake and follow the advice of former Ambassador Michael Oren who said: ‘It’s advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government.’ And I would add, so as not to bring Israel, the United States and perhaps the world closer to war with Iran.”