On CBS News Face the Nation, House Speaker John Boehner spoke about the March 3 speech to be given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of congress. He was asked on March 1 whether the controversy over the speech has damaged the Israeli leader's ability to make his case against the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran's nuclear weaponization program. 
Ohio Republican Boehner said "No, I don't believe so at all. The demand for seats in the House, the demand for tickets, I've never seen anything like it. Everybody wants to be there. What I do wonder is: why does the White House feel threatened because the Congress - which wants to support Israel and wants to hear what he has to say. It is, frankly, remarkable to me that over the last five or six weeks has attacked the prime minister, attacked me, for wanting to hear from one of our closest allies."
Moreover, said Boehner, while the animosity demonstrated by the White House has been no secret, it has made the relationship with Israel much worse. Also, he chararacterized Iran's nuclear program as not only a threat to the region but to the entire world. 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called Netanyahu "arrogant." In addition, she said that she is curious to know what Israel plans to do should the current bilateral negotiations fail.  She also said that even while Netanyahu is the leader of the Jewish state, he does not speak for all Jews. "Since he is coming, I intend to go, and will listen respectfully. I don't intend to jump up and down," said Feinstein.
"I think that arrogance does not befit Israel. Candidly, I think Israel is a nation that needs to be protected, that needs to stand free, that hopefully can work constructively with Palestinians to have a side-by-side state, and to put an end to the bitterness that has plagued this whole area."
While Feinstein confirmed that she will attend the speech, twenty-four fellow legislators who caucus with her party have announced their intention to boycott.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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