Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, led by Chair Representative Barbara Lee (C), talk to the media following a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech before Congress as well as his controversial campaign comments have infuriated African- American Democrats, Newsweek reported on Friday.
“The Congressional Black Caucus is gone,” a Democratic congressional aide told the US news magazine.
Netanyahu’s speech – which sought to challenge US President Barack Obama’s efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran – and his comments ahead of the election that his supporters must vote because “Arabs are voting in droves,” has lead many black Democrats to turn their back on the Israeli prime minister.
This reported alienation could effectively kill any chance US lawmakers could submit legislation mandating new Iran sanctions that would have enough supporters to override an Obama veto.
“Bibi [Netanyahu] ensured there will be no veto-proof majority in the House,” a Capitol Hill source told Newsweek.
Congressional hawks are mulling two pieces of legislation against Iran. One sponsored by New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, would require a congressional vote of approval for Obama to lift US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The other would-be bill pushed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would mandate Congressional approval for any agreement reached with Iran. The White House has vowed to veto both pieces of legislation.
Newsweek describes a dramatic encounter between black lawmakers and Israeli officials engaged in damage control after it became apparent that Netanyahu’s address was perceived by some as a personal affront to Obama.
One Congressional aide told the news magazine that Rep. James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, confronted Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) during a closed-door session on Capitol Hill. According to Newsweek, Clyburn bluntly told Edelstein that Netanyahu’s speech was “an affront to America’s first black president.”
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