By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Jew and strong supporter of Israel, will be skipping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s politically sensitive address to a joint session of Congress.
“As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA,” she said in a statement.
As such, she said, her decision to boycott the March 3 speech was difficult. She went on to say the “ill-advised” invitation made to the prime minister by House Speaker John Boehner threatens Israel’s security and the nation’s bi-partisan support in Congress.
Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak just two weeks before Israel’s election without consulting with the White House or Democrats in Congress.
She said the speech could destroy negotiations with Iran, the goal of which is to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
“The Prime Minister wants the negotiations to end, and his purpose in speaking to the Congress is to convince us that the President is about to agree to a deal that threatens Israel’s existence,” Schakowsky said.
Schakowsky also said the invitation damages bi-partisan support for Israel.
“This is not the first time that the Republicans have tried to divide the Democrats and paint themselves as the only true supporters of Israel.”