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John Lewis tells D.C. crowd he will not attend Netanyahu speech

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John Lewis, the longtime Georgia congressman who is portrayed as a hero in the new film “Selma” and known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress,” said last night that he won’t attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress in March, according to Medea Benjamin. From the twitter feed of the Code Pink leader:

Exciting! @repjohnlewis announced he will join @repblumenauer in refusing to attend #Netanyahu’s March 3 speech at Congress #freepalestine

At event tonite at @busboysandpoets @RepJohnLewis pledged that he would not attend #Netanyahu speech at Congress!!! #ICC4Israel

Lewis spoke about his book at the D.C. restaurant Busboys and Poets last night. Benjamin says she asked Lewis if he would attend the Netanyahu speech. “I have no plans to attend the speech,” he said, to applause. Today, Benjamin says, Lewis’s office confirmed to Code Pink that he will not attend the speech. We’ve contacted Lewis’s office and will update if we hear more.

Blumenauer is Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, said to be the only congressperson on record to say he won’t attend the speech. But the Washington Post reports the resistance is now widespread. “High-ranking Democrats are weighing a boycott of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next month.” And the Post identifies two other congresspeople who don’t plan to hear Netanyahu:

Some House Democrats have decided they won’t attend, saying that the event was meant to create an image for Netanyahu back home as he faces a potentially difficult reelection bid. “It’s a campaign stunt, and I’m not working for his campaign. I’m not a standing stooge,” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said Tuesday.

“What will be remembered here is the slight against our president and the partisan political nature of it, and I don’t know who’s served by that,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Tuesday.

Politico says, “Dozens of Democrats are privately threatening to boycott Netanyahu’s March 3 address.”

CNN chimes in: “Several influential senior Democratic senators said on Wednesday they and other senators are considering boycotting an upcoming speech to Congress.” Dick Durbin of Illinois declined to name names.

Asked about a boycott, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is Jewish and the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “there are people discussing that.”

The drama has rocked D.C. for two weeks now. Netanyahu announced a day after President Obama’s State of the Union speech that he had accepted Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of Congress in February, later moved to March 3. Netanyahu wants to rebut Obama’s call to Congress to allow negotiations with Iran to go forward. The speech is turning into a neverending embarrassment/scandal. When will it hit bottom?

The president wants congresspeople to “decide for themselves” whether to attend the speech, presidential press secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday in a briefing. He left open the possibility that Vice President Joe Biden won’t attend the speech– “contingent on his schedule.” The White House seems to be enjoying this opportunity to publicize Israel’s bad behavior.

Q. Do you think it’s dangerous for American-Israeli relations for Democrats to potentially boycott the Netanyahu speech?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, certainly individual members of Congress will have to make their own decision, some of which I assume will be driven by their schedule and some of it will be driven by their own views about what has transpired over the last several weeks as it relates to this speech…

one of the concerns about the breach in protocol that we’ve seen and articulated is that it might cause some to view the relationship between the United States and Israel as a relationship between one political party in Israel and one political party in the United States.  The President does not believe that would be a positive development in our relationship…

Q    But given that — so does he think that Democrats should go to the speech if it happens?

MR. EARNEST:  I guess to give you a more direct answer, the President believes that individual members ought to decide for themselves.  That’s certainly appropriate.

I.e., you don’t need to take this vaccine, senators and congresspeople!

Politico says that Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and Israeli speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein had meetings all over Capitol Hill yesterday to try and find a way out of the crisis. Like maybe cancelling the speech?

[Nancy] Pelosi “expressed her concern that casting a political apple of discord into the relationship is not the best way forward given the formidable challenges our two countries are facing together,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

The matter is resonating in a traditional issue about Zionism: the dual-loyalty concern. Don’t make Jews choose between Israel and the U.S.  Says longtime Israel supporter Martin Indyk:

“It’s going to get worse, because Democrats, whether it’s Jewish Democratic congressmen, or Jewish voters for the Democratic Party — which is the majority of American Jewish voters … nobody wants to be put in the position of taking sides… Democrats who are supporters of Israel don’t want to have to choose between supporting Israel and supporting their president.”

More on loyalties being pulled one way and another: Seven Jewish Democrats met with Ron Dermer, who reportedly came up with the speech idea, and upbraided him privately. Politico:

Seven Jewish Democratic members of Congress who met Wednesday in Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-N.Y.) office — Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch of Florida, Jerry Nadler and Nita Lowey of New York, Sander Levin of Michigan and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois — lit into Dermer. The invitation, they said, was making them choose between Netanyahu and Obama, making support for Israel into a partisan issue that they never wanted it to be, and forcing them to consider a boycott of the speech. One member, according to someone in the room, went so far as to tell Dermer it was hard to believe him when he said he didn’t realize the partisan mess he was making by going around Obama to get Boehner to make the invitation.

They suggested Netanyahu consider speaking to members of Congress privately, and not from the podium of the House.

“There were a wide range of views that were discussed, but one thing we all agreed on emphatically is that Israel should never be used as a political football,” Israel told POLITICO.

Steve Israel also met with Natan Sharansky, the rightwing pro-settler head of the Jewish Agency. Cozy:

Israel with Ron Dermer and Natan Scharansky

Israel with Ron Dermer and Natan Sharansky

Greg Sargent in the Washington Post notes that Dems don’t want to be “out of sync with whatever Israel wants,” and the Jewish Dems were nervous about being critical of Netanyahu:

many House Democrats are angry at the prospect of Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress at a time when it could set back President Obama’s hopes for progress in nuclear negotiations with Iran. But relatively few of them are willing to say so publicly — the latest indication that Democrats remain deeply skittish about appearing to be out of sync with whatever Israel wants…

I’m told by several sources that a number of Jewish House Democrats recently met to privately discuss putting out a statement calling for a delay in the speech. Yet the Members could not agree on what it should say, specifically in terms of how critical it should be of Netanyahu’s speech or how directly it should lean into the idea that the speech might set back Iran talks. So Members agreed instead to put out statements on their own.

In “sync with whatever Israel wants”? What sort of job description is that? Dan Froomkin of the Intercept gets the punchline:

Jewish Congressional Dems say they don’t want to choose between Netanyahu & Obama, but it’s not clear who they’d pick

MJ Rosenberg says that Israel’s supporters and six of those seven Jewish Congresspeople will effectively shut down the fracas: 

There will be no protest of Netanyahu’s speech. The enforcers will make sure.

The enforcers (mostly Jewish House members & Schumer) will say: “I agree with you but don’t make trouble for yourself. It’s not worth it.”

Jeffrey Goldberg– who served in the Israeli army (when he moved to Israel because he felt anti-Semitism so pervasive in this country) — says in a twitter dialog with Sargent that the politicians are afraid of Jewish donors.

Sargent: “The big story, if anything, is how meek, publicly at least, Dems are being about this”

Goldberg: “That’s because they like Israel generally, like the support they get from Jewish voters and donors, etc.”

Sargent: “Right. But Jewish Dems actually mulled a joint statement calling for speech delay, and then punted.”

Goldberg: “To avoid a full-blown crisis.”

Sounds like they got one.

Annie Robbins and Adam Horowitz contributed key reports to this account.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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75 Responses

  1. annie
    February 5, 2015, 11:30 am

    Goldberg: “That’s because they like Israel generally, like the support they get from Jewish voters and donors, etc.”

    gee ya think!!!!! it would be just sooo concerning if all that money went to only one political party!!

    this reminds me of an old post of phil’s from 2012:

    Typical of this coverage, Loeb has bitched about Obama’s treatment of Wall Street; but I wonder what your agenda is when you name your group the Emergency Committee for Israel? Eisenberg is also active in Jewish causes. Berman is on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    Recall that a year ago, The Hill reported that 67 Wall Street executives who gave to Obama the last time around are moving to Mitt Romney, and it cited five executives by name. I looked those five up and saw that most of them had given to Israel-related causes. Again, the Hill cited economic reasons for the exodus– the execs feel “betrayed” by Obama’s rhetoric about Wall Street. But one of these guys was on the board of AIPAC, another had given oodles to “birthright.”

    Again, the critical issue here is that journalists would never allow religious Christian donors to mess around in our political system like this without asking about the effects on policy. I.e., when does this become a front-page story? There are very simple questions to answer: How much pro-Israel money is in play here? Do the money-hungry candidates even distinguish between Jewish and Zionist money? What do the donors say about Israel? And what is Obama doing to meet his erstwhile donors’ concerns? Are State Department prevarications about the Israeli settlement report a sign that Obama is hogtied on this issue? (Yes.)

    – See more at:

    they’d like to disguise their departure from the dems as a “wall street” issue, when everyone knows what it’s about. both parties are dependent on the MONEY. and the big american secret (that is not much of a secret anymore!) is that the elections are an industry now fueled significantly by this “jewish donor” cash flow, and all hell would break loose if the american public wised up a notch or two in the next election cycle.

    phil asked “when does this become a front-page story? ” could be right around the corner.

    • Krauss
      February 5, 2015, 2:52 pm

      Don’t forget that the last time Bibi spoke to Congress, Friedman reported in the Times that their Jewish donors sat on the balcony and “monitored” them to see if they were supportive enough. It’s like that scene could be ripped straight out of Elders of Zion.

      I’m guessing a rehearsal now. Lewis has backbone and he’s been around too long to bend over to the moneymasters, he is his own man now; he’s untouchable.

      But for many others, they are not. So while I think the WH would love a dem boycott I think in reality it will be very paltry and symbolic.

      I also think that Bibi is continuing on this journey precisely because he wants to personally punish Obama. I don’t think Bibi frankly cares about the broader damage he is making. To him, he is the state and the state is him. Bibi wants to make Obama look weak – and he could well succeed – but the price for paying that is that he will damage the perception of Israel even more around liberals.

      Forget about the donor class, the Huffington Post is raising the pitchforks over this. Obama remains very popular among Democrats in general and among non-whites in particular and any foreign leader who picks a fight with their president is going to sully the name of not only himself but of his nation.

      • JWalters
        February 5, 2015, 6:37 pm

        On a previous visit Bibi also deliberately affronted President Clinton, also to manipulate U.S. foreign policy and help his own re-election.

        The parallels are striking. Thank you, Rep. Lewis.

      • annie
        February 5, 2015, 9:42 pm

        jwalters, that is a great article

        The second reason also reflects this zero-sum game. Boehner and his fellow Republicans aim to deprive the Democrats of something allegedly important while capturing it for the Republicans. Boehner knows that pro-Israeli lobbies are key political donors, so his aim is to increase their contributions to Republicans and decrease them to Democrats.

        If this requires selling out an American president, Boehner is ready to do so. If it means embroiling the American people in yet another Middle East war, he appears ready to do that as well.

        In all of this, the wishes of the American people count least of all. Despite years of negative media propaganda about Iran, polls indicate that most Americans support President Obama’s diplomatic efforts. Boehner appears not to care.

        Nonetheless, as with Eric Cantor, no one in the Democratic ranks is willing to respect that popular judgment by openly challenging Boehner on his unconstitutional behavior. That is because the Democratic Party is as enamored of Zionist money as are the Republicans.

        Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, now the House minority leader, should be jumping up and down and screaming her head off about John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. Yet all she has said is that it breaks protocol and might harm talks with Iran. But, she has refused to say that the invitation should be withdrawn.

        she’s being nice, so her party can get the loot. everybody wants to loot for their coffers. never mind boehner should be brought up on charges for violating the logan act.

      • ziusudra
        February 6, 2015, 3:59 am

        How on earth is Mr Lewis slighting Mr Bibi of Zionistan w/o fear?
        Perhaps because he’s a Black American and is in office because of his ethnicity where US Blacks have a majority?
        Being that the US has all ethnicities, the majority of voters should go by that to support the US against foreign interference.
        Wasn’t it Mr. Paine, who gave his famous caveat: don’t meddle in foreign affairs, it’s unamerican. Zionistan would only get N.Y., maybe.
        There’s always a new Ave. of approach on the grand scale of observation.

      • Kathleen
        February 6, 2015, 6:24 am

        “Friedman reported in the Times that their Jewish donors sat on the balcony and “monitored” to see if they were supportive enough.’

        Talk about public displays of foreign agents requiring Reps to roll over and bark. What was it 29 standing ovations that they gave Netanyahu. Guess Jewish donors approved.

    • CigarGod
      February 6, 2015, 9:47 am

      Hi Annie,
      Do we have numbers on how much Jewish election money there is versus non-Jewish?

  2. Marnie
    February 5, 2015, 11:32 am

    “It’s going to get worse, because Democrats, whether it’s Jewish Democratic congressmen, or Jewish voters for the Democratic Party — which is the majority of American Jewish voters … nobody wants to be put in the position of taking sides… Democrats who are supporters of Israel don’t want to have to choose between supporting Israel and supporting their president.”

    Tell me how it’s really that f’king hard for an United States congressman/woman, to choose between supporting their United States president, and the prime minister of a foreign country? How can their loyalty to the United States be anything but a sham; they’re actually struggling with their choice? If you love the zionist state so much, live there. All you’re doing now is screwing the people who elected you. Wake up Americans – now you can watch your elected officials worship the golden calf!

    Representative Lewis, who has faced fear and hatred all of his life, is not about to disgrace himself or the people he represents by taking part in this zionist love fest with the war criminal Netanyahu as the guest of honor.

    • annie
      February 5, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Tell me how it’s really that f’king hard for an United States congressman/woman, to choose between supporting their United States president, and the prime minister of a foreign country? – See more at:

      apparently it’s fairly hard when it comes down to losing their jobs. and especially with politicians like minority leader pelosi (ex majority leader) of the house. one of her primary jobs is the ascension of her party. unfortunately supporting israel is a requirement of both parties, unless they can figure out how to hold onto their seats without filling their coffers. thousands of contributors can’t compete with one billionaire adelson type. voters need to turn off the tv and start using their brains or the country is going under.

      • Marnie
        February 5, 2015, 1:37 pm

        Dang Annie that was a quick response to my cry for help! So depressing.

      • ritzl
        February 5, 2015, 4:56 pm

        The oath of office for Congress:

        I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

        There aren’t really any implied questions or suggested choices in there.

    • ritzl
      February 5, 2015, 5:28 pm

      Well asked, Marnie. And these are people who took an oath of loyalty/exclusivity in order to serve in their positions. Imagine how this self-indulgent public (and seemingly completely tone-deaf) uneasiness makes any Jew with any fiduciary, constituent, or membership responsibility look.

      As American said a while back, when Israel became a country, everything changed wrt to the loyalty trope. The trope turned to a legitimate question, the legitimacy of which this public agonizing would seem to underscore.

      Zionism corrupts everything it touches. Everything.

      • Marnie
        February 6, 2015, 3:14 am

        Thanks for posting the oath of congress Ritzl – maybe one of them will actually read it.

    • Pixel
      February 5, 2015, 10:48 pm

      @ Marnie

      John Lewis, at 19 years of age, was one of the Freedom Riders at the start of the Civil Rights movement.

      If you haven’t seen the PBS American Experience episode called “Freedom Riders” you simply MUST. It’s as amazing as it riveting.

      John Lewis is courage personified.

      • Marnie
        February 6, 2015, 3:08 am

        Thanks Pixel – I was thinking about John Lewis as a young man in Selma. I saw “Freedom Riders” – it was awe-inspiring and brought me to tears. What faith and courage! It’s no surprise that he would stand up against this travesty or would it be more correct to call it a coup-d’tat?

        On a “news of the weird” tip – I’ve seen a lot of docs about the civil rights movement, the KKK, Selma, MLK, a doc about the Lovings – in Israel. The fact they’ve aired so many programs about civil rights demonstrates no understanding of irony (but I actually believe it’s further demonstration of their cruelty).

      • RockyMissouri
        February 6, 2015, 12:18 pm


    • Kathleen
      February 6, 2015, 6:26 am

      They have for decades supported what they have believed to be best for Israel’s national security over what has been best for U.S. national security. Being publicly exposed is the only difference right now.

  3. piotr
    February 5, 2015, 11:44 am

    Is it just me, but having a press secretary with name “Earnest” seems funny.

    On that note, an advise to Zionist lobbyists: keep your napkins dry. What we see is an attempt to collect signatures of 75 senators on a soggy napkin.

    • Mooser
      February 5, 2015, 9:09 pm

      “Is it just me, but having a press secretary with name “Earnest” seems funny.”

      I’m sure he considers it a matter of wild importance.

      • RoHa
        February 5, 2015, 9:50 pm

        : ) again.

  4. CloakAndDagger
    February 5, 2015, 11:50 am

    Politico says that Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and Israeli speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein had meetings all over Capitol Hill yesterday to try and find a way out of the crisis. Like maybe cancelling [sic] the speech?

    Oh, for goodness sake, don’t cancel the speech! Events like these are exactly the catalysts we have been waiting for, now that this entire fiasco is at its tipping point!

    More Netanyahu, more! Let the dams break and flood the plains! The soil is so parched for so long!

    • Blownaway
      February 5, 2015, 12:07 pm

      Yes and no! At the end of the day the enforcers will enforce and the one chance to embarrass the Israel firsters will evaporate. This is the best last gasp to break the iron grip Israel has on American politics and it will be wasted. The good news is Bibi will emerge victorious get a lift and win the election proving that America is indeed something that can be moved by him. The U.S. can’t be a catalyst for peace ever and this fiasco will show the world and hasten the day when global sanctions will finally put some pressure on the Israelis.

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 5, 2015, 1:21 pm

        @ Blownaway

        I am not looking for us to be the catalyst for peace. The catalysts I am looking for are those that end this “special” (as in short yellow bus) relationship once and for all.

        This event is a win-win for us. If a lot of congress doesn’t show up for the speech, or the speech is cancelled, it will be visible to the public. If the speech does happen and our pols repeat the genuflection and donkey-fellation from the last such event, it will be visible to the public. Either ways, people will ask why and more people will be educated in the process.

        I am much more optimistic this time around than I was previously, because I perceive that we are at a tipping point and this moment is historic – not just for us, but also for the rest of the world.

        I hope that Netanyahu does win the election – but I doubt that this event will help him get there. It will certainly cause enough resentment on both the American and the Israeli sides that it will add to the momentum of the demise of this marriage-made-in-hell.

        Happy soon-to-be-divorce!

      • Polly
        February 5, 2015, 1:47 pm

        I agree reservedly Cloak And Dagger, only thing is if a trillion dollar bailout barely raised a murmur with Joe Public back in 2008, the Netanyahu furore probably won’t either.

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 5, 2015, 4:57 pm

        @ Polly

        I understand your reservations, however, education and enlightenment have excellent ROI and their effect can be asymptotic. More educated people will lead to more quality debates and entropy will increase, as it already has. MW is a good example of a collection of enlightened members. Imagine this being replicated across the nation.

        At the tipping point, which is where I contend that we are, we see the analogy of the last straw on the camel’s back. It has taken a while to get here, but now that the milestone has been achieved, sudden failure of the system is imminent.

        The closest analogy I can draw is from my college days while experimenting with the tensile strength of steel. For a while, the elasticity of steel is linear with applied strain until a certain point when it starts to curve and then fail drastically. You can start to visually see the steel deform well before the sudden crash.

        We have reached that point.

      • Bumblebye
        February 5, 2015, 6:08 pm

        Anything like the bendiness of these motorway lampposts?

      • philadelphialawyer
        February 6, 2015, 8:17 am

        I agree with “Cloak and Dagger.” If not a “tipping point,” this is at least a turning point, a point where the Lobby finally overreached, a point where at least some folks started to say “enough is enough” and that a line has been reached and crossed. Rather than, as “Blownaway” sees it, “a last best chance,” I see it as a first step, not the end, or even the beginning of the end (to paraphrase Churchill), but the end of the beginning.

        Of course, the “Special Relationship” is not going to end overnight. Of course most of the talk will be about preserving it, rather than ending it, and how The Speech is a hindrance to the Relationship, and Israel itself, and that is why it is a bad thing. But that focus on tactics and so forth can’t hide the fact that, finally, at long last, at least some members of Congress have indicated that there actually is a bridge too far, that, no, “whatever Israel wants” is NOT the end all and be all.

        Whether the Speech comes off at all is not the point. That only some members of Congress, like Lewis, have summoned up the integrity to say No to attending this year’s version of this disgraceful performance, this obscene and disgusting pantomime of democracy, is not the point. Nor is the point whether Bibi wins his sordid election or not.

      • CigarGod
        February 6, 2015, 10:49 am

        The ideal (fantasy) world, is where I learn from my mistakes, but,
        My enemy doesn’t learn from his.

    • amigo
      February 5, 2015, 1:58 pm

      “Happy soon-to-be-divorce!” C&D.

      How about a ten year separation.Let,s call it a Hudna.

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 5, 2015, 2:03 pm

        @ amigo

        You are too gracious to them. Why only 10 years (although that is long enough for us to find another girlfriend). I think the last 60 years should be repaid with 60 years of not talking to each other (no marriage counsellors allowed, either).

        What’s a “hudna”?

      • amigo
        February 5, 2015, 3:19 pm

        “What’s a “hudna”?”C&D.

        Hudna is an Arab term for armistice or calm.Hamas Offered Israel a hudna several times but Israel rebuffed it every time.Claimed Hamas would use it to rearm.Damn cheek those Palestinians eh.Not that Israel ever kept it,s word or any promise it made.

        I said ten years because that should be enough to convince Israel it cannot survive without American largess and diplomatic support.They might change their tone .Big might I should add.

  5. Chu
    February 5, 2015, 12:18 pm

    And what will the other 187 democratic house members do? Will republican members skip out also?

    For who wants to hear an arrogant windbag ‘viceroy’ grandstand on how we need to give them more support, when they give us a big fat goose egg in return? Perhaps if they were shipping back gold bars to the empire, but I don’t think the bastard colony has given us anything of value in the last half century.

    • Pixel
      February 5, 2015, 11:11 pm

      @ Chu

      There aren’t any gold bars left to send.
      Ft. Knox was cleaned out years ago.

      It’s a chimera.

  6. ckg
    February 5, 2015, 1:01 pm

    The AP is reporting today Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will also be skipping Netanyahu’s speech.

    Pastor John Hagee is not happy about the Democrats’ insolence toward Netanyahu. Yesterday he warned that God will destroy America for failing to adequately support Israel.

    • CloakAndDagger
      February 5, 2015, 1:29 pm

      I wish that the bearded guy-in-the-sky™ would destroy John Hagee and his ilk. There is a special place in hell for him, but I wish it was on Earth while he was living.

    • seafoid
      February 5, 2015, 1:31 pm

      Climate change is more likely to do that . Nothing to do with god either. Just stupidity.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        February 5, 2015, 2:12 pm

        Yeah and guess who will end up with the high ground!

    • ckg
      February 5, 2015, 1:35 pm

      One of Rand Paul’s top staffers, Vincent Harris, turns out to be a paid Likud Party employee. I think this could actually help Paul in the GOP.

    • ckg
      February 5, 2015, 1:38 pm

      War with Russia, er… I mean Gog and Magog, could destroy America too. But someone’s got to get this Apocalypse thing rolling.

    • Krauss
      February 5, 2015, 2:58 pm

      Pastor John Hagee is not happy about the Democrats’ insolence toward Netanyahu. Yesterday he warned that God will destroy America for failing to adequately support Israel.

      Let us pray that God will destroy the career of Hagee first and expel him from our lands, Amen.

      The AP is reporting today Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will also be skipping Netanyahu’s speech.

      Awesome. I hope that the entire CBC boycotts the speech and that they take the liberal/progressive wing with them. I’m still waiting for Ellison to join in the boycott.

      This could end up being a litmus test inside of the Democratic party of who has the guts to stand up to the Israel lobby and who does not. Right now, we’re seeing a surprising upsurge is rebellious activity. I love it.

      • RockyMissouri
        February 6, 2015, 12:09 pm

        Hagee will be very upset….!! Not a good thing for a man of his considerable girth.

        On the other hand, John Lewis is a most honorable American, and makes me proud.

  7. American
    February 5, 2015, 1:01 pm

    ” The matter is resonating in a traditional issue about Zionism: the dual-loyalty concern.
    Don’t make Jews choose between Israel and the U.S. ”

    They do need to be made to choose.
    They need a which nation do they really belong to loyalty ‘crisis.
    I dont think this one will do it, but thats one thing that would help end the problems of the Jews themselves and the world problem with Israel.
    The fallacy of being able to balance dual loyalties without loyalty conflicts and eventual betrayal of one or the other is just that– a fallacy.
    Dueling loyalties in and for nations has never worked in the history of mankind and nations.

  8. CloakAndDagger
    February 5, 2015, 1:44 pm

    The big event that I am waiting for is when we announce our reconciliation with Iran later this year along with the nuclear agreement and cessation of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

    This will be like a nuclear explosion in and of itself as the Israel-firsters fall all over themselves to condemn the move and paint the picture of America’s nuclear destruction at the hands of Iran, while the rest of the country welcomes this as a great move that sets us on the path to restoring our economy and amplifying the hopes of peace in the world, and hopefully, releasing the zio tentacles from our government and media.

    That will be the last battle for a while and the demise of a lot of evil in the world.

    Are you listening, Mr. President? This could be your legacy if you act now.

    • American
      February 5, 2015, 1:56 pm

      @ C&D

      I am waiting for Obama to announce a final agreement with Iran and then for Israel to attack Iran on their own.
      I can envsion Isr doing that, particulary if netanyahu is re elected.

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 5, 2015, 2:08 pm

        I don’t see any scenario in which Israel would attack Iran on their own. If they were stupid enough to do that, with or without nuclear weapons, then – bye-bye Israel.

    • amigo
      February 5, 2015, 2:09 pm

      “and hopefully, releasing the zio tentacles from our government and media” C&D

      Maybe that should read!.

      And hopefully remove the zio tentacles from our government,s testicles , assuming they have any.For the female pols , use your own term.

  9. seafoid
    February 5, 2015, 2:13 pm

    Netanyahu’s speech will be the usual crap.
    He always talks about Jewish self determination while whining about the need for more American money and political support.

  10. American
    February 5, 2015, 2:13 pm

    mj is having a good day today……

    MJ [email protected] · now6 seconds ago

    The 7 House guys. “Please don’t compromise our ability to support you if you bomb Iran. Don’t make it hard for us. U need US backing 4 war.”

    MJ [email protected] · 1 min1 minute ago

    The seven House guys. “Pls tell Bibi that he is hurting our ability 2support everything u do whenever u do it. Like next time u bomb Gaza.”

    MJ [email protected] · 4 mins4 minutes ago

    Few Jewish Members of Congress think about Israel any other way. Feinstein does. Carl Levin did.

    MJ [email protected] · 6 mins6 minutes ago

    When these House members see dead kids on beach in Gaza, their reaction is “this is terrible for Israel’s image.” That is how they think

    [email protected] · 7 mins7 minutes ago

    Engel,Nadler,Hoyer,Lowey,Israel,Deutsch & Was-Shultz are worried about Israel’s standing in Congress, nothing else.

    MJ [email protected] · 9 mins9 minutes ago

    Believe me, Engel, Nadler, Hoyer, Lowey, Steve Israel, Deutsch and Wasserman-Shultz are strategizing with Dermer/Netanyahu not against

    • CloakAndDagger
      February 5, 2015, 4:05 pm

      It’s hard for me to get excited about anything MJ says or does. Ever since he used to come here and randomly accuse people of antisemitism, and when challenged to mention names or examples of antisemitic posts, scurry off without a repost, I lost all respect for him after that.

      While even his support is better than no support, and even though he left AIPAC years ago, I am not convinced that AIPAC left him completely.

      I will credit him where credit is due: creation of the Israel-firster term. It is succinct and precise. Beyond that, I am unconvinced about how much of an asset he is to the good-guys and whether he wouldn’t flip over to the dark-side™ were the situation to his advantage.

      • American
        February 5, 2015, 7:39 pm


        I dont think he’s a asset to what you and I would like to see done about Isr-USA–quite the opposite.

  11. Kris
    February 5, 2015, 2:20 pm

    In the same vein,

    “Left-wing politicians in the EU Parliament undermined a visit by Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai because he has “blood on his hands” according to Northern Ireland MEP Martina Anderson.

    “Mordechai, who is one of the commanders of the Israeli elite force, is the coordinator for the Israeli government activities with the European Parliament regarding the Palestinian territories. His visit, which was due on Tuesday, was cancelled shortly before it was due to take place.

    “Portuguese parliamentarian Marisa Matias, from the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping, was quoted as saying that “giving him [Mordechai] a platform to host a lecture would legitimise his violations of international law and human rights”.

    “She pointed out: “Rather than giving a warm welcome to those, who stand for repression and apartheid, the EU institutions should pressure the Israeli government to abide by the rules of international law and UN resolutions.”

    So nice to read good news, for a change! All the Israelis with blood on their hands need to stay at home, not be invited to address Congress or the E.U.

  12. lysias
    February 5, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Congressional Quarterly: Pelosi Plans to Attend Netanyahu Address ‘As of Now’ (requires subscription).:

    As many House Democrats mull skipping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled joint address to Congress next month, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “as of now” plans to attend.

    “I’m seriously considering going,” the California Democrat told reporters at her weekly news conference Thursday morning. “I am. As of now it is my intention to go.”

    “It is still my hope that the event will not take place,” she continued. “There’s serious unease.”

    Pelosi also said she would not be urging colleagues one way or the other in regards to their attendance: “Members will go or don’t go, as members usually go or don’t go” to joint sessions of Congress featuring any head of state, controversial or not.

    • seafoid
      February 5, 2015, 2:39 pm

      : “Members will go or don’t go, as members usually go or don’t go” to joint sessions of Congress featuring any head of state, controversial or not. ”

      -Netanyahu is head of a lobby run by an outside country. He shouldn’t be let anywhere near Congress.

  13. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    February 5, 2015, 2:34 pm

    I like the action shot of Natan up there.

  14. lysias
    February 5, 2015, 2:37 pm

    Pope Francis to address Congress on Sept. 24. He will meet with Obama during the visit.

    I wonder if he will have anything beyond peace platitudes to say about Israel/Palestine and Ukraine.

    • Pixel
      February 5, 2015, 10:35 pm

      I think the Pope’s invitation is a naked attempt to dilute the impact of Netanyahu’s invitation. Boehner, et al, have been running around desperately trying to figure out what to do.

      “See, everyone… we invite all SORTS of [religious] people to address both houses of Congress. Our invitation to the Pope is HISTORIC, Bibi’s is no big deal – he’s been here before.”

      I don’t know anything about where the Pope stands on US/Israel but I wonder if he may have been so flattered by / blinded by the chance to do something historic that he missed the boat.

      I think he’s being used. Either he fell for it, he allowed it or he suggested it and/or has been manipulated by those around him.

      • amigo
        February 6, 2015, 10:47 am

        Pixel , the Pope was invited last year according to Lysias link above.I don,t think there is a link here as the invitation precedes Dermer/Boehner clusterf–k.It is possible however, no date was set earlier and this feb date was the result of efforts to put lipstick on the nietanyahu invite. Otoh , I believe that booking the Popes presence would require more than 4 to 6 weeks notice.

  15. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    February 5, 2015, 3:26 pm

    “It’s going to get worse”: Democratic backlash against Netanyahu speech continues
    With members threatening to boycott the Israeli PM’s upcoming congressional address, a revolt is mounting …..(Goodie goodie…!!!)

  16. Kathleen
    February 5, 2015, 4:08 pm

    “Don’t make Jews choose between Israel and the U.S.” In public…all of this is happening in the wide open. A problem for those who have gone along with Israel and the I lobby for decades

  17. Atlantaiconoclast
    February 5, 2015, 4:39 pm

    John Lewis is my congressman here in Atlanta. I would like to think that my frequent phone calls might have played a role here. I find it hard to believe, but maybe, just maybe, others have been calling too.

    • JWalters
      February 5, 2015, 6:44 pm

      Thanks for your calls.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        February 5, 2015, 9:56 pm


      • Pixel
        February 5, 2015, 11:07 pm


        Oh, definitely! All around the country, not just my Congress people. I mean, why hold back?

        Positive comment or negative, I call the Congressional operator, who forwards me to anyone I ask for. When I hang up from one, I call her back and move on the next one. Heck, I grab an ice cold Diet Mountain Dew, put my feet up, and make a day of it!

        Congressional Operator: 202.224.3121

        International? Call anyway. They’ll be flattered that they have a global reach. Be sure to add a +1.

    • Kathleen
      February 6, 2015, 6:44 am

      Thanks and the rest of us should be calling and thanking him and Rep Blumenauer.

      • Kathleen
        February 6, 2015, 6:58 am

        Both Lewis and Blumenauer’s websites will not take comments from people outside their districts.

        Lewis: D.C. number 202-225-3801
        Blumenauer: DC number 202- 225-4811

        Going to also ask their aides on phone to suggest they put a separate meeting together asking Israel to sign the NPT and the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. You know the treaties that Iran and most other nations signed long ago.

        Wondering if Code Pink will put together something at their website….a big thank you go both of these Reps

  18. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    February 5, 2015, 6:27 pm

    McDermott: “I am not a standing stooge.”

    Standing stooges shill for Sheldon’s sheckels.

    Netanyahu, Dermer, Adelson & Boehner: the Four Stooges of the Apocalypse

    Standing Stooge-gate.

  19. JLewisDickerson
    February 5, 2015, 10:04 pm

    RE: “John Lewis, the longtime Georgia congressman who is portrayed as a hero in the new film “Selma” and known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress,”. . . ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Not only is Rep. John Lewis “portrayed as a hero”, he actually is one (i.e., a hero)!
    That said, I’m admittedly biased.

  20. JLewisDickerson
    February 6, 2015, 12:22 am

    RE: “Politico says that Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and Israeli speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein had meetings all over Capitol Hill yesterday to try and find a way out of the crisis. Like maybe cancelling the speech?” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: At this point, Netanyahu would be committing political seppuku/harakiri if he were to cancel his speech to Congress (i.e., looking “weak” to the Israeli electorate would be the kiss of political death). Consequently, he is probably praying for a major terrorist attack to solve the problem.
    In the absence of a major terrorist attack, a war with Hezbollah in late February and early March might do the trick (assuming a credible pretext can be “arranged”).

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 6, 2015, 12:36 am

      P.S. SEE: “Israel and Lebanon: Is a 3rd War in the Offing?” ~ By Rola El-Hussein, Informed Comment, February 2, 2015

      [EXCERPT] On January 18, 2015 an Israeli military operation lead to the death of Jihad Mughniyah in Quneitra, in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. According to a retired Israeli general, the timing of the operation that led to the death of Jihad Mugniyah, several other Hizbullah Operatives and an Iranian general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is linked to upcoming elections in Israel. The retired general also insinuated that an assassination in 2012 of a Hamas leader was similarly motivated. These allegations were denied by government officials in Israel, yet historical precedent seems to support the idea that Netanyahu is engaging in warmongering in an effort to shore up his popularity.

      Operations in Lebanon are often governed by internal Israeli concerns and are often aimed to support an ailing Prime minister or one trying to secure his position. For example, in 1996, then Prime Minister Shimon Peres was facing elections, and wanted to change his image as a “dovish” politician and show Israelis he could be tough in a war situation. He launched operation Grapes of Wrath, which ironically spelled the end of his campaign and led to the elevation of Benyamin Netanyahu to the premiership. Indeed, the Qana massacre (which has come back to haunt another Israeli politician Naftali Bennett) and its 102 civilian deaths was the nail in the coffin of Peres’ campaign.

      A decade later, in 2006, Ehud Olmert, recently promoted to the premiership after Ariel Sharon’s stroke, and trying to prove he was tough despite his lack of military background, launched the so-called Second Lebanon War. The war was a total failure and spelled the end of Olmert’s career. His approval ratings plummeted after the war and remained low, and he finally announced his resignation in July 2008, a resignation that was confirmed in September 2008. Benyamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister in 2009 and has since remained Israel’s premier after the 2013 elections.

      Yet Netanyahu is facing today an uphill battle in his re-election. The most recent scandal his administration faces is one that one his wife is intimately implicated in, the so-called “bottle” scandal. It involves petty corruption and possibly criminal behavior in addition to abuse of authority. It is not surprising therefore to see him engage in diversionary tactics on three fronts: in the Golan heights after the operation against Hizbullah and Iranian operatives; in the US Congress where Netanyahu is supposed to speak on February 11 to a joint session of Congress on Iran; and in Israel’s relationship with the US and Europe after declaring his government’s intention to build 450 new settlement units in the West Bank.

      Indeed each of these arenas represents “a different aspect of the same propaganda front: On the Golan Heights, Netanyahu sought to demonstrate his military leadership; in Congress, his ability to stand up to a president he views as hostile to Israel, and in expanding the settlements, his determination to meet the right’s demands. Netanyahu is removing all the brakes that guided him in office, cruising at full throttle in an election race in which Israel’s interests are considered marginal compared to his lust for victory.” . . .


      • Walid
        February 6, 2015, 2:09 am

        JLD, the 3rd war didn’t happen most probably because Iran snuffed it out because it’s very close with settling with the US and doesn’t need any diversions from it. Netanyahu and the Israeli people were lucky because a war would have hurt Israel (and of course Lebanon) very badly.

        Going back to 1996 and Pers wanting to prove he had big ones for the coming elections an a few weeks, at the time he had not been elected but was made interim Prime Minister after the assassination of Rabin for less than 6 months. The Grapes of Wrath election stunt backfired on him. As Cole commented, idiotic Israeli candidates always use Lebanon as a punching bag during their election campaigns.

    • Kathleen
      February 6, 2015, 6:32 am


  21. Kathleen
    February 6, 2015, 6:31 am

    Will be writing and calling Congressman Lewis’s office today to thank him for his stance. Rep Blumenauer too. Others may have all ready done so. However, hope others who have not contacted them will do so. Keep contacting Reps. So important to keep the pressure on them…

  22. Kathleen
    February 6, 2015, 6:43 am

    The meeting with Israel, Sharansky and Dermer sure looks cozy. Sharansky the head of the Jewish Agency one of the very foundational pillars of the apartheid government of Israel. Israel has made apartheid look normal

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