In a show of solidarity with President Obama, a number of Congressional Black Caucus members will opt to not be in attendance next week when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the House and Senate.
CBC members plan to boycott Netanyahu’s scheduled March 3 appearance because they believe it to be disrespectful to President Obama.
Speaker of the House John Boehner invited the Netanyahu to Capitol Hill without consulting the White House nor congressional Democrats. It is believed that Netanyahu will talk about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the threat it poses to both the United States and Israel.
Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia was the first member of the caucus to publicly announce his plans to skip Netanyahu’s speech. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, also a Democratic, was next to declare his intentions to not attend with other members quickly following suit.
“To me, it is somewhat of an insult to the president of the United States,” asserted Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y. “I’m not going to be there, as a result of that, not as a result of the good people of Israel.”
The move by Republican leaders to invite Netanyahu to America to address the House and Senate, both of which are currently controlled by the GOP, is seen by many as a snide exercise of power because it is common knowledge that Obama and Netanyahu do not see eye to eye and have had a frosty relationship since Obama assumed the presidency in 2008.
Both President Obama and Vice President Biden plan to skip Netanyahu’s speech as well.