|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu|
Pictured are 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio (D-11) (wearing bluish-green suit), 9th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio (D-9) (in blue suit and turtleneck), Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH), and United States House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (R-8) (in pink tie)
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Coleman is a community activist and 22-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.
(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)
WASHINGTON, D.C.-11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat, and 9th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat, are among some 50 Democratic members of Congress to join U.S President Barack Obama in boycotting a controversial speech before a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday, March 3 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran's controversial nuclear program. (Editor's note: The speech went on as scheduled and President Obama said afterwards that Netanyahu said nothing new and wants no deal on Iran's nuclear weapons program unless he gets his way).
The highly anticipated speech is set to begin at 10 am E.S.T.
Ohio Gov John Kasich, however, has said that he will attend, which sources say increases speculation that the popular Republican governor will make a bid for president in 2016.
Fudge and Kaptur, both of Ohio, whose congressional districts include parts of the largely Black city of Cleveland, have taken a posture contrary to Rep. John Boehner, also of Ohio and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who invited Netanyahu without consulting the president and White House foreign policy officials.
Clearly, Ohio remains at the center of politics both nationally and internationally, not only because of colorful politicians like Boehner, a Dayton Republican, but also because it is a pivotal state for presidential elections.
"Inviting a foreign head of state to address the Congress is a clear breach of protocol and practice, and undermines the U.S. presidency," said Fudge in a press statement to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news."My decision not to attend the prime minister's speech in no way affects or reflects my continuous, strong support for Israel and its alliance with the United States, and Israel's concerns."
Fudge said also that "my support of Israel will be just as strong the day after Prime Minister Netanyahu's address as it is today."
"My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the office that he holds. I have great respect for both," Netanyahu told thousands of activists at a pro-Israel lobby AIPAC's annual conference.
Netanyahu is running for re-election in a March 17 general election, and said yesterday that the United State's proposal would result in $50 billion in sanctions relief to Iran with no safe guards for abiding to any such anti-nuclear weapons agreement.
Polls show that Netanyahu is in a heated reelection campaign, and could lose the presidency of his Jewish state.
President Obama told reporters that Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, and that that type of deal, though hopeful, is unlikely.
The president has said that the prime minister's visit is untimely, and politically motivated.
Secretary of State John Kerry , who is in nuclear talks with Iran, will miss the speech, and Vice President Biden, who would traditionally attend as president of the U.S. Senate, is also slated to be abroad when Netanyahu delivers remarks to Congress on Tuesday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said yesterday that Tehran would try to "go as far as we can" in negotiations with Kerry about the nuclear program at issue.
While the U.S. and Israel agree that Tehran's nuclear program must be curtailed, they disagree on the manner in which to seek to prevent the development of nuclear weapons.
With a population of around 8.3 million and surpassing 12 million in the wider metropolitan area, Tehran is Iran's largest city and its capitol, and the largest city in Western Asia.
New York City is the largest U.S. city, and has a population of roughly 8 million people. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)