Netanyahu to Jewish leaders: no responsible Israeli PM could pass up Congress speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: State Department.

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing a visiting delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday in Jerusalem, called it his “sacred duty” to speak to Congress on March 3 about the danger of a nuclear Iran.

While Netanyahu’s speech has been questioned by the White House, some Congressional Democrats, and some Jewish organizations on the grounds that House Speaker John Boehner did not consult President Barack Obama about his invitation of the prime minister, Netanyahu said, “I think the real question that should be asked is, how could any responsible Israeli prime minister refuse to speak to Congress on a matter so important to Israel’s survival? How could anyone refuse an invitation to speak on a matter that could affect our very existence when such an invitation is offered?”

Netanyahu said he is going to Congress because Israel “has been offered the opportunity to make its case on this crucial issue before the world’s most important parliament; because a speech before Congress allows Israel to present its position to the elected representatives of the American people and to a worldwide audience; because Congress has played a critical role in applying pressure to the Iranian regime—the very pressure that has brought the ayatollahs to the negotiating table in the first place; and because Congress may very well have a say on the parameters of any final deal with Iran.”

He added, “I don’t see this issue in partisan terms. The survival of Israel is not a partisan issue. It concerns everyone, all the supporters of Israel from every political stripe.”

Posted on February 16, 2015 .