(JNS.org) Zionist Union alliance head Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader in the Israeli Knesset and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stiffest competition in the country’s March 17 election, announced that he has canceled his scheduled appearance at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference next week in Washington, D.C.
“A few days ago, I told the AIPAC conference organizers that I was deeply sorry, but that I could not attend the conference at which I had been invited to deliver a speech. American Jewry is very important to me, but it is clear that replacing the Netanyahu government is just as important, and that is my primary mission these days,” Herzog told reporters in Jerusalem.
Herzog also criticized Netanyahu’s planned speech to a joint session of Congress about Iran on March 3.
“Netanyahu’s spin about who is going to Washington must stop,” Herzog said. “My firm position against a nuclear Iran is known by every Israeli and American, including the U.S. president, and I know how to voice it in a sharp, clear manner—from here (Israel), not from there.”
Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) had urged Herzog to join Netanyahu in front of Congress as part of a display of unity against the Iranian nuclear threat. Herzog’s participation would “represent consensus and a unified front, and would help repel the danger,” Katz said on his Facebook account.