Two U.S. Democrats, John Lewis and G. K. Butterfield, have announced they will boycott the Israeli prime minister’s speech in Congress planned for March 3, as other House Representatives also consider not attending Benjamin Netanyahu’s address, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without any consultation with the White House.
Lewis, a champion of the civil rights movement, told Associated Press: “I think it’s an affront to the president and the State Department what the speaker did.”
White House officials have said they will not meet Netanyahu during his visit in March and said the Israeli prime minister’s visit is not appropriate so close to the Israeli elections.
Boehner has said that he invited Netanyahu to address the House and offer a rebuttal to President Obama’s support for nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Obama has pledged that he will veto any move by Congress to pass new sanctions on Iran, explaining that it would harm the ongoing efforts to reach a resolution in the Iran-5+1 negotiations.
Iranian conservative factions are have also called on parliament to bass a bill ending commitment to the Geneva Agreement in case the US passes further sanctions on Iran.