Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing more pressure in the United States as half of Democratic lawmakers plan to boycott his speech at Congress on Tuesday.
At least 55 Democrats, including eight senators and 47 House members, have said they will not attend the speech, in which Netanyahu will talk against Iran and President Barack Obama’s strategy in dealing with the Islamic Republic on its nuclear program.
The high number of democrats boycotting the speech is symptomatic of the increasingly soured relations between the White House and Israel.
Netanyahu, who delivered a speech at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington on Monday, will give a congressional speech on Tuesday at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner.
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett are among those who have added their names to the list of lawmakers who will skip the address.
“It’s unfortunate that Speaker Boehner’s actions on the eve of a national election in Israel have made Tuesday’s event more political,” Warren said in a statement on Monday.
“This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle,” Franken said Monday. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening.”
Rep. Doggett also echoed similar opinion about the address.
“We must seek to overcome the misguided approach of those, like Mr. Netanyahu, who would reject any reasonable nuclear agreement” with Iran, the lawmaker said.
On Monday, Netanyahu said Israel would not stand idly by while Iran speeds ahead with its enrichment activities. “I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them.”
President Obama, his secretary of state, John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden boycotted both the AIPAC conference and Netanyahu’s congressional talk.