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March 1, 2015 12:52 pm

Boehner Says Demand for Participation in Netanyahu’s Congress Speech is Unprecedented

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Speaker of the House John Boehner. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

The office of House Speaker John Boehner revealed that demand for tickets to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to a joint session of Congress is sky high.

So high in fact that it has outpaced any joint meeting since he was elected speaker, with 10 times as many requests than there are seats available, Politico reported on Sunday.

The speech, set for Tuesday morning, has been the source of intense friction between the White House, and its allies and the Israeli prime minister.

Expected to address the emerging US-led nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Netanyahu is seen by the Obama administration as a major obstacle to its desired agreement with the Islamic Republic. The PM has also been accused of violating diplomatic protocol by not giving the White House enough advance warning before scheduling the speech.

Netanyahu, however, contends that the the Iranian nuclear threat is an existential issue for Israelis and that the proximity of the March deadline for a deal with Iran demands that he seize the opportunity to address Congress now.

Despite the controversy, only a relatively small number of lawmakers have pledged to boycott the speech. Included among them are four senators and a few dozen House members.

Others who will boycott the speech include Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Both say they have overseas engagements at the time of the address.

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