Press Release: APN to Boehner: Postpone Israeli Prime Minister's Congressional Speech; Respect Israeli Democracy

Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) to re-issue his invitation for the prime minister of Israel to address Congress for a later date, after the deadline for negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and following the elections in Israel, after a new government coalition is formed.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “Both the timing of the invitation and its manner are outrageous. They are inappropriate and irresponsible. Not only were the invitations issued in a way that violates protocol, their timing suggests congressional meddling in a foreign county’s election campaign – two weeks only before Israel’s general elections, in which Benjamin Netanyahu is a candidate. Furthermore, the timing strongly suggests an attempt to use a foreign leader to influence the debate between Congress and the White House over America’s Iran policy. To top it all, this move uses Israel, yet again, as a wedge issue in internal American politics. Speaker Boehner’s invitation – both its timing and manner – is therefore a disservice to US national security interests and to Israel’s.  

“Let me be clear: As the sister organization of Israel’s preeminent peace movement and as an organization that cares deeply about Israel’s security and well-being, and advocates for a strong relationship between Israel and the US, we appreciate Congress’s wish to honor Israel by inviting its prime minster to address a joint session of Congress. It is an honor that very few countries receive and one that underscores the special relationship between the United States and Israel. But if the objective of Speaker Boehner and his congressional colleagues really is to salute the state of Israel and its special relationship with the United States, he should show respect to its democratic process. He should allow its election process to take place without external involvement.

“Speaker Boehner’s invitation, in its current mode, turns what would otherwise be an honorable and serious event into a divisive and tainted one.

“Under these circumstances, and in order to put an end to accusations of impropriety as well as to the unintended consequences of impropriety, the best course of action for Speaker Boehner would be to re-issue the invitation for a later date, which takes into consideration the Iran negotiations timeline and the timeline that leads to the formation of a new government in Israel following the general elections.”