Washington – After some indecision, Sen. Chris Murphy has decided to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
“Senator Murphy believes the timing of this speech is a serious mistake and has urged that it be rescheduled for after the Israeli elections. However, out of respect for the United States’ historic relationship with Israel, he plans to attend,” said Murphy press secretary Kalie Hanson.
Murphy’s decision to attend the speech, which will be boycotted by some Democrats, means the entire Connecticut delegation has decided to hear the prime minister speak.
Democrats are angered that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, invited Netanyahu without coordinating with the White House or State Department. There are also concerns that Netanyahu will continue to condemn delicate diplomatic negotiations between Iran and a group of nations that include the United States and bolster GOP efforts to increase sanctions on Iran.
And there’s the perception that Netanyahu has agreed to address Congress as a campaign ploy that would help him keep his seat. Israeli parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 17.
In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday, Netanyahu said the dustup over his speech would not have lasting impact.
“Our friendship will weather the current disagreement as well, to grow even stronger in the future — because we share the same dreams…because the values that unite us are much stronger than the differences that divide us,” Netanyahu told a supportive crowd at AIPAC’s annual policy conference.