Speaker Boehner invites Netanyahu to address joint meeting of Congress next month

House Speaker John Boehner issued a news release today (Thursday, April 14) announcing that he intends to invite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress next month once both houses of Congress pass a formal invitation resolution.

Politics never being very far from anything that happens in Washington, one wonders why the Senate leader, Democrat Harry Reid, is missing from Boehner's announcement.

Question:  Did Boehner float the idea with Reid but fail to get a firm commitment so the Speaker decided to proceed on his own?

Question:  If so, was Reid's reticence prompted by coaxing from the Obama White House, which has never been enthusiastic about firm congressional support of Israel that contrasts sharply with the rocky relationship between the president and the prime minister? 

Question:  If Pelosi were still Speaker, would Bibi be addressing a joint meeting of the House and Senate next month? 

During his Washington visit, Netanyahu is scheduled to unveil a major new Israeli peace initiative ahead of a drive by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ignore both Obama and Netanyahu, and push for a unilateral  endorsement of Palestinian statehood by the UN General Assembly when it next meets in Septmeber.

Netanyahu, for his part, will use his  May visit to Washington  to outline Israel's parameters and "red lines" for a two-state peace deal, while also warning his DC audiences that Iran continues to be a mortal threat to the Jewish state as it arms Hamas on Israel's southern flank and Hezb'allah on its northern flank, while proceeding to develop nuclear weapons.  It's a foregone conclusion that Netanyahu's conditions for a "secure" peace will not mesh with Obama's continued rush to cut corners and get a peace agreement on his watch ASAP.

This being so, a Netanyahu address to a joint meeting of Congress is bound to give the prime minister a bit more political leverage when he meets with Obama in the Oval Office.   The prime minister already is booked as principal speaker at the annual conference of AIPAC -- the American-Israeli Political Action Committee.  But an address to a joint meeting of Congress gives him an even stronger platform.

For that,  Netanyahu can thank the Republican Speaker of the House.  Too bad that the Democratic Leader of the Senate didn't join Boehner's initiative right from the start, instead of having to play catch-up.  

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