Mitchell Cohen of the Century Foundation has a strong piece at the Boston Globe calling on Democrats not to participate in incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress on Tuesday. He quickly gets to the heart of the matter:
To attend would both legitimize Boehner and Netanyahu's actions but also give an explicit boost to Netanyahu's reelection effort, which, if successful, would likely lead to the creation of a right-wing Israeli government whose values are alien to the Democratic Party.
In Israel, the notion that domestic politics is Netanyahu's primary motivation for coming to Washington is basically taken for granted. According to one January poll, 67 percent of Israelis think Netanyahu is using the speech "to influence the election results at home."
This is what makes the decision facing congressional Democrats that much more consequential. If one concludes that Netanyahu's speech is basically about Israeli domestic politics -- and Congress is being used as a political prop -- attending the joint session takes on a very different meaning: Simply sitting in the House chamber to hear Netanyahu would be the equivalent of cutting a campaign ad for his reelection.
The question of the hour is: which Congressional Democrats will decline to participate in cutting a campaign ad for Netanyahu's reelection?
CNN reports that 33 Democrats have said that they will not attend.
David Price of North Carolina has said that he will not attend. At this writing he is not yet reflected in the CNN list.
Politico reported on Feb. 11 that Hank Johnson of Georgia was not going. He is not on the CNN list. Constituents of Johnson have reported to Just Foreign Policy that his office told them he was not attending.
Then, of course, there is Vice-President Biden. Why wouldn't we count Biden? He's the President of the Senate.
So, at this writing, 36 Democrats are "out of the closet" in saying that they will not participate in Netanyahu's reelection ad.
You can urge your own Senators and Representative not to participate in Netanyahu's reelection ad here.