Israel – Despite enjoying a hearty welcome at the US Congress recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to meet with a delagation of representatives organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish lobby said Sunday.
Congressmen cheered Netanyahu on enthusiastically 50 times during his speech, 29 of those being standing ovations. However when five of those same Congress members planned a visit Israel, requesting a meeting with the prime minster or any other official representative of the state, not a single one complied.
The delegation, composed of Democratic Congress members, was set to arrive in Israel on Monday. The trip was initiated by J Street, considered a controversial group known for its fierce criticism of Israel, particularly over the issue of West Bank settlements.
The delegation includes five representatives: Steve Cohen from Tennessee, Betty McCollum from Minnesota, John Yarmuth from Kentucky, and Sam Farr and Lynn Woolsey from California. Two of them are Jewish.
They plan to tour Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to become familiar with Mideast realities and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The US delegation could not conceal their disappointment, adding they feel the Israeli leadership is demonstrating ingratitude towards them.
J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami said “It is impossilble to understand how it is in Israel’s interest for the Netanyahu government to show no respect to Members of Congress visiting Israel as guests, who vote year in and year out to provide military and other assistance to the state of Israel,” he said.