WASHINGTON – At least five more black lawmakers said they would not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional address.
Politico reported Wednesday that these members of the Congressional Black Caucus would not be going to the March 3 speech. Three leading caucus members had already announced they would not attend.
The Hill, meanwhile, surveyed Jewish Democrats and found that 14 out of 27 intended to attend. The sole Jewish Republican, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), has pledged to attend.
The opposite trends among blacks and Jews underscore how the visit is polarizing Congress, with Republicans welcoming Netanyahu and Democrats saying the visit is a mistake.
The Israeli prime minister last month accepted an invitation from Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the speaker of the US House of Representatives, to speak to Congress, although Boehner had not cleared the invitation with President Barack Obama or Democrats in Congress. Boehner wants Netanyahu to rebut Obama’s contention that nuclear talks underway between Iran and the major powers are constructive.