Washington – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, decided to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday to a joint chamber of Congress, saying the Republican invitation to him was “disrespectful of the president.”

As Netanyahu entered the House floor, DeLauro’s office released a statement quoting the lawmaker that said, “I am uncomfortable with not attending because I am a strong supporter of Israel, understand its unique security needs, have traveled to Israel over many years, have a special bond with Connecticut’s Jewish community, and I have always supported bipartisan efforts to achieve the highest level of sanctions against Iran and its nuclear ambitions.”

But DeLauro also said she supported President Obama’s pursuit of an agreement “to keep Iran from getting to the threshold of a nuclear weapon.”

“This partisan invitation by the Republican leaders of Congress who oppose the negotiations is meant to undermine the negotiations that I support, is disrespectful of the president of the United States and, worst of all, leaves America’s relations with Israel stuck in the same polarized, partisan mud that keeps us from doing the right thing in so many area.,” DeLauro said. “That is deeply harmful to Israel. So I felt it is wrong to attend the address that is part of Speaker Boehner’s partisan game plan and part of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign plan in Israel.”

Last month, DeLauro’s office said the lawmaker planned to attend Netanyahu’s speech.

All other members of the Connecticut congressional delegation said they planned to attend the speech – even as some had misgivings.

Netanyahu began his speech saying, “I know that my speech has been perceived by some as being political.”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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