By Mike Lillis1
Elizabeth Warren will join the growing boycott against Tuesday's speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, her office announced Monday evening.
The Massachusetts Democrat – a liberal favorite who's being pushed by the left to seek the White House in 2016 – emphasized her support for the nation of Israel. But she said the politics surrounding Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) decision to stage the event amid delicate multi-lateral negotiations to dismantle Iran's nuclear program – and just weeks before national elections in Israel – convinced her to skip the speech.
“It’s unfortunate that Speaker Boehner’s actions on the eve of a national election in Israel have made Tuesday’s event more political and less helpful for addressing the critical issue of nuclear nonproliferation and the safety of our most important ally in the Middle East.”
controversy surrounding Netanyahu's speech has boiled since January, when Boehner announced the event just one day after President Obama's State of the Union speech without consulting the White House or Democratic leaders in Congress.
Boehner and the Republicans – who are pushing stronger sanctions on Iran in lieu of Obama's diplomatic approach – have defended that decision, arguing that both Congress and the American people should hear Netanyahu's concerns about the negotiations directly from the prime minister himself.
But Democrats have been up in arms, both because of Boehner's unilateral invitation and out of concerns that the speech will undermine the Iran talks, which the administration views as the best way to ensure Iran never obtains
At least 55 Democrats – eight senators and 47 members of the House – have vowed to skip the address, most of them in protest.
Netanyahu's speech before the joint session is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.