US lawmakers push for Netanyahu to address Congress

In bipartisan letter, almost 100 House members call on leaders to ask PM to speak during his visit to Washington in March

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the US Congress in Washington, May 24, 2011. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the US Congress in Washington, May 24, 2011. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

Almost one hundred members of the US Congress signed a bipartisan letter urging the leadership of the House of Representatives to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress when he visits Washington in early March.

The letter, addressed to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, was initiated by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).

The letter argues that during a time of widespread turmoil in the Middle East, “it is critically important to foster and enhance the US-Israel relationship.”

“Given the importance of our relationship with Israel we ask you to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a Joint Session of Congress,” the letter continued. “Doing so would send a clear message of support for Israel.”

“The strong support we have received for this initiative shows our close relationship with the State of Israel which is based on deeply shared values, as well as moral, historical and security ties,” said Lamborn in a statement released by his office.

During his trip, Netanyahu will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House and deliver an address at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference.

The two leaders will likely discuss the faltering peace process with the Palestinians as well as differences between Jerusalem and Washington regarding Iran’s nuclear program, among other issues.

The last meeting between Netanyahu and Obama took place in September 2013, when the prime minister came to the US to address the UN General Assembly in New York.

Netanyahu’s sojourn is also expected to include a brief visit to the West Coast. He will attend the Los Angeles screening of “The Royal Tour,” an international tourism series hosted by journalist Peter Greenberg, whose episode in Israel co-stars the prime minister. Netanyahu will also stop in Silicon Valley.

Aron Dónzis contributed to this report.

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