Benjamin Netanyahu

Many politicians might skip Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech as the controversial leader will speak to Congress about tensions in the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to be addressing a joint session of Congress in March. His speech comes at a time of increased instability in the Middle East along with Iran moving forward with plans towards developing a nuclear program. Although his address is being considered one of the most important of the year, it has created a polarized environment within the United States’ government, with many politicians refusing to attend.

An Honored Guest

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to speak in the United States by Republican House Speaker, John Boehner. He will speak on March 3rd in front of many members of congress and dignitaries who want to witness what can only be described as a momentous event. It has been noted that this speech differs from those given by Netanyahu in the past. Instead of asking for aid or support, he is coming to address the increasing threat of Iran in the Middle East and a marked rise in anti-Semitism.

It is expected that he will request a united front that can address the problems that are occurring in the Middle East starting with the dire threat posed by Iran. Since the United States has always been a staunch ally of Israel, this speech could set the stage for a closer future between the two nations.

Political Sway

However, most of the talk about the speech does not actually have anything to do with the historical nature of the speech or the proposal that will likely result. Instead, the move by John Boehner to invite the Prime Minister without the approval from the White House is being seen as a political maneuver. Currently, several prominent figures, including Vice President John Biden, have said that they will not attend the joint session of Congress because of what they call underhanded politics.

Other people who will not be attending include Bernie Sanders and several House members. While there are some Democrats not attending for political reasons, Democrats and Republicans with Jewish backgrounds are lining up to show their support for the Prime Minister.

Two Unique Opportunities

By inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress, the Republican Party has created two very distinct opportunities. First, they have given their party the ability to demonstrate the depth of their devotion to having Israel as an ally. At the same time, they have granted Netanyahu a turn in the spotlight of the world stage, with some of the most powerful lawmakers listening to his worries for the future of Israel with such a grave threat near to them. With the speech merely weeks away, many are hoping that the government will put aside its political agenda to listen to Israel as an ally and not turn the speech into a political talking point.

Resources

Follow the conversation on Twitter