Washington – Despite announcements by numerous members of Congress who intend to boycott the Israeli Prime Minister’s upcoming speech next month, a high ranking elected official has vowed that he will be in attendance when Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress on March 3.
“The prime minister is the voice of the people of Israel and from my perspective, that is a voice that needs to be heard,” and I have every intention to go to the speech”, said New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez.
Menendez, who chairs the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, made his remarks at a legislative meeting held yesterday in Washington DC between the Senator and members of Agudath Israel of America’s national board of trustees to address several issues including anti-Semitism and Israeli security.
Netanyahu hopes to dissuade Congress from approving any agreements with Iran that would expand the country’s nuclear capabilities, according to The Washington Post, a move that is in direct conflict with the Obama administration’s efforts to build a better relationship with Iran.
Netanyahu has ignored requests to cancel his trip to Washington, reportedly angering both Democrats and the Obama administration and his planned remarks have generated conflict in Israel as well, with many voicing concern that the speech could potentially jeopardize Israel’s relationship with both the president and Congress.
Menendez, who has represented districts encompassing significant Arab and Palestinian populations, has proven himself to be a staunch supporter of Israel.
At the meeting yesterday, Menendez observed that allowing Iran to build up any nuclear capabilities would be a grave mistake that would be “Not in the national interests of the national security of the United States and not in the national interests of the national security of our ally the State of Israel.”