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February 4, 2015 2:25 pm

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer Meets Senior Jewish Democrats Amid Fears VP Biden and Others Will Skip Netanyahu Address to Congress

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Vice President Joe Biden, pictured addressing the J Street national conference in 2013, may skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress on March 3. Photo: J Street via Facebook.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, has met with senior Jewish Democrats on Capitol Hill following reports that Vice President Joe Biden and other leading Democrats  may skip Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next month amid growing tension between the Israeli Prime Minister and the White House.

Dermer, Israel’s American-born envoy to the U.S. since 2013, met with Reps. Jerry Nadler, Nita Lowey and Steve Israel of New York; Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; Sander Levin of Michigan; and Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Politico reported.

The seven met for about an hour in Israel’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building. The congressman’s office confirmed that the meeting took place and that it was “spirited.”

“I organized the meeting with Ambassador Dermer, and I invited key Congressional Democratic supporters of Israel to attend,” Rep. Israel said. “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.”

Left-wing advocacy organization J Street has been meddling in the row, sending two mass emails promoting a letter from Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) asking House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reschedule the speech until after the Israeli elections.

“Momentum is on our side — and it’s growing,” J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote in an email. “Make it clear that Netanyahu’s speech shouldn’t go forward as planned.”

Earlier, reported that Biden, who also serves as president of the US Senate, had not yet committed to attending Netanyahu’s speech on March 3, while dozens of Congressional Democrats are also privately threatening to skip the address. The White House has not told Democratic members of Congress to skip the address, but also isn’t encouraging them to go.

“We defer to Democratic members if they’d like to attend or not,” a White House aide said Tuesday.

Netanyahu was invited by Boehner to address a joint session of Congress about the threat of a nuclear Iran and radical Islam. The move set off controversy with the Obama administration, which said it was not consulted on the invitation and has argued that the address would hurt the West’s chances to forge a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. The speech was initially scheduled for Feb.11, but was moved to March 3 to accommodate Netanyahu’s address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention.

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  • nelson marans

    The battle lines have been drawn between those Democrats that really support Israel and those who only give lip service. Incidentally, I do not see any protests against the invitation by Boehner to the Pope during his september visit to address the Congress

  • nelson marans

    The battle lines have been drawn between those Democrats who really support Israel and those who give only lip service. Attendance will be the litmus test. Incidentally I have not noted any objections to the decision of Boehner to invite the Pope in September to speak toCongress.

  • It’s indicative of the media not to mention that Obama our spineless, treacherous president sent over 100 J-Street members to Israel in an effort to keep P.M. Netanyahu from being reelected! No one in the mainstream news media in America wants anyone to know about these latest lower-than-scum moves being orchestrated by the Obama administration. Obama doesn’t want Netanyahu to address Congress because Netanyahu will lay out the facts about just how dangerously close to acquiring a nuclear weapon Iran is! This president is guilty of treason against the Constitution of the nation he swore to protect and uphold!

  • Robert Davis

    That is the making of a mountain out of a mole hill! Who cares whether Israel’s enemies skip the adress or not? anyway considering their political stand they are NOT welcome! As to jihadstreet,IT CAN GO TO HELL!

  • ben kramer

    Dermer is a clown.

  • Bernard Ross

    no jew should vote for a democrat who boycotts the Israel PM speech. get their names.

  • Mike

    What do you expect? When Jews don’t stick together, the left can be contemptuous of Israel and its leader.

  • Ellen

    J Street and Ben-Ami do not now and never have had in the past the best interests of Israel in their actions. J Street is more concerned about the rights of those who would have Israel destroyed than he is about Israel’s continued survival as a strong state of all its citizens and the only democracy in the area.

  • Wm. J.Levy

    AIPAC, J Street, dozens of pro-Israel, anti-Israel, anti-Zionists, Ultra-Orthodox supporters of Hamas makes this a never ending carosel and the only losers are all the Jews.

    Jews can’t get along with each other but they can die for causes which are dangerous for Jews such as the attempt of breaking the Gaza blockade with Holocaust survivors. Dorothy Zellner and her Zealots against Israel and her parents being Holocaust survivors and rabbis. Where were these people if they faced Nazis?

  • bs”d

    It should not stop Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s message must be heard for the benefit of the world.

    If Biden doesn’t want to attend that’s his choice.

    The White House is not leading the fight against Iran and a possible nuclear holocaust.
    Netanyahu’s speech will highlight their negligence and make them look bad.

    It’s no wonder they don’t want him to speak. It has nothing to do about Israeli politics.

  • Well, let’s see if there is any backbone at all in the Democrats. If they choose to shut their eyes and ears to
    the truth about the danger that Iran poses to Israel, America, and the world, then let’s change their symbol from
    a donkey to an ostrich. Remember the best words that FDR ever uttered: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

  • DocReality

    Whoever doesn’t show up will reveal their true colors and feelings about Israel. It’s that simple.

    And so is Joe Biden.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Of the thirty-three Jewish members of Congress, thirty-two are Democrats.

    Up to now, this has been a slow-motion disgrace, but not for long.

    This is not your father’s Democrat party, as former Senator Joe Lieberman, among others, can attest.

    Now the Democrats are planning to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.


    Let’s hope their boycott exceeds expectations, so that the true face of the party becomes unmistakably evident.

  • Elliott Sadle

    We don’t know if Obama has told Dems to skip the speech. All we know is what has been released publicly. As we well know, that may be very far from the truth.

  • steven L

    Let them skip. If they are interested in the truth and facts they will show-up.
    It is a dereliction of duty and responsibility to ignore the Nuke threat from Iran.
    As per NYT Obama was notified before BB.

  • Apparently Obama and some Democrats such as Pelosi think that Israel and its PM are serfs of the U.S.

    They are not.

    As Bibi has repeatedly stated, the Jewish people will never again leave their security in the hands of others.

    Interesting how Obama is quiet as a mouse when dealing with psychopathic dictators like Putin and the Mullahs of Iran but has plenty of rage towards the strongest ally that the US has in the Middle East, i.e. Israel.

    This is not a puzzle. Obama is an anti-Semite and detests Israel, which he views as an interloper in the Middle East, an imperialistic and colonial power having no right to be there. Of course political considerations preclude him from stating so but his conduct gives him away.

    The real question is whether Bibi has the will to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities before it’s too late. No doubt that if he does, he will keep it secret from Obama who would not waste a minute warning Iran of Israel’s plans.

  • Talk about one over-blown affair!! For Obama to say that PM Netanyahu’s visit will jeopardize an Iranian nuclear agreement is as much utter nonsense as this president has yet managed to produce. The world has tried to get Iran to desist from its nuclear weapons program for – how long has it been? – 10 years? more? And now, just NOW, there is this fantastic deal about to be concluded. If that were the case, why wait until June to conclude it?? Why? Because it does not exist. In June we will find out that there is no more agreement than there ever was, but we will have given the Iranians another six month – without sanction, mind you – to get closer to a nuclear weapon. Blaming it on PM Netanyahu us not going to change the fact the our inept president is jeopardizing America’s vital interests because of his intense dislike of PM Netanyahu. Just how stupid does this president think we, the people, are?? If there really was an agreement that was acceptable to both parties, would they abandon it because of some visit or breach of protocol?
    The fact is that Obama has allowed more and more time to elapse, always postponing, suspending sanctions. Whom is he kidding?? He is playing the Iranians’ game one hundred percent. Is he letting his hatred of Israel jeopardize the legitimate and urgent interest of the United States?? If so, that is an impeachable offense. Go to it, Speaker Boehner.

  • David M

    If the Iran nuclear negotiations were more along the lines favored by those who fear Iranian hegemony, there would be no serious disagreement.

    Mr. Obama cannot be very pleased with how the Iranian bazaar merchants have out-smarted him. If 6,500 spinning centrifuges are permitted to Iran in the “deal”, then they have a running start towards a bomb before anyone could react. It is Israel who would be the 1st target for the Ayatollahs. Not a good deal for Israel, is it.?

    And an Iranian ship with a nuke on board sitting in a US port holding us at ransom is also not a good bet!


    We need to let our Democratic politicians know they have to stand up to Obama and show Netanyahu the respect he deserves.

    Whether or not you agree with all of Netanyahu’s policies, Mr. Obama has displayed a frightening lack of loyalty to our allies. At the same time he has been obsequious to our enemies.
    I am afraid Barack Obama is the Neville Chamber of our time.

  • robert borns

    is vp biden a man or a mouse. i always admired him as a strong man but if he doesnt show up he has turned into a mouse. and if the jewish dems dont show they certainly dont have the courage of there forefathers and mothers who had the strength of lions.

  • judithg

    members of the democratic party who do not attend the speech given by Bibi Netanyahu can be assured that personally, should that be the case, I will immediately change my democratic party affiliation.

  • Hugo

    Boehner and the Republicans will do anything to undermine the relations between Obama and Israel with the full cooperation of Netanyahu.

  • george

    I would like to hear Mr Netanyahu’s opinion of Iran’s nuclear threat, since our “dear” president has no idea what we are facing.

  • In March 1968 Dr Martin Luther King Jr said with great wisdom and prescience: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism”..Any Democrat who does not attend the speech establishes his credentials as an antisemite.

  • Joe Nunya

    List all joos on the DO NOT FLY LIST n cut off all US Aid n throw out all dual isrealis by FARA


    Israel is not a partisan issue. Iran nuclear and missile threats on not a partisan issue. If the military could attend Pres. Obama’s speech at West Point, Democrats could and should attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address.

    .If they don’t attend it makes Israel into a partisan issue and signals Iran and the Islamic extremists that support of Israel in the United States is weak.

  • norman buchalter

    May Biden and J Street rot in hell.
    Netanyahu deserves this opprotunity to address a full Congress

  • Golum

    Obama is already in the Jewish Democratic Dog House…Biden and other Demos that survive Obama better think of their own careers…Because a lot of Jews like my Family are on the edge of voting Republican Right Now …thanks to Barry Obama!!!

  • I wouldn’t mind if these so-called progressives skipped Bibi’s speech. His antecedents were modernizers like Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, not the blood and soil Zionists of the social democratic Left. See

  • Carla Isselmann

    The speech should go ahead as scheduled and it will be clear then which democrat is a anti-Israel idiot.
    It all reminds me of the sick mentality in the days of Southafrica, when nobody was allowed to say something decent about that lovely country, when ‘occupiers’ were treated as royalty because they ‘opposed’ the government.
    All this malicious nonsense is being played out again and do not fall for it!! Southafrica is wasted and let Israel be saved!!
    help Israel and help Jordania ,instead of destroying them!

  • paul jeser

    Let them miss the speech- it will just reinforce what most of us know – that you can not count on many Democrats to support Israel when needed.

  • Emanuel

    All the Democraps should skip it just so everyone knows where their loyalties lie or should I say lay. Going will only give them another chance to look like dishonest idiots when they lie and mischaracterize the facts afterwards.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Crazy Joe’s attendance is not that important