RI Sen. Whitehouse says no to Netanyahu speech

By The Associated Press

News@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says he will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before Congress.

Whitehouse said Monday that he will be among a group of Democrats who is skipping Netanyahu’s address Tuesday.

They are protesting that House Speaker John Boehner broke protocol by inviting the prime minister without first informing President Barack Obama.

Whitehouse says he is concerned that the move was an effort to “manipulate domestic politics in both countries.”

Fellow Democrat from Rhode Island, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, has confirmed plans to attend the speech.

Netanyahu has said Obama’s bid for a nuclear deal with Iran is a threat to his country’s survival, but that his plans to address Congress are not intended to disrespect the president.

Statement from Senator Whitehouse:

“I am committed to a strong and lasting relationship between the United States and Israel, a country which represents our values in a very dangerous neighborhood. I do not plan to attend the Prime Minister’s speech. I’m concerned that behind it was a mischievous effort to manipulate domestic politics in both countries, which should not be the terms of engagement between friendly allies.” – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

(c) The Associated Press/ WLNE-TV 2015