Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his much anticipated speech to Congress today. He made his case against a potential nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran by major powers, including the United States.
Watch the speech here.
There were empty chairs as the Prime Minister spoke.
Some lawmakers, including Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers did not attend the speech.
Conyers released a statement saying that his decision was based on problems with timing and protocol.
From that statement:
My decision not to attend the address by Prime Minister Netanyahu is based not on policy differences but rather on protocol. Speaker Boehner extended the invitation without consulting President Obama or bipartisan Congressional leadership. The speech was scheduled just in advance of a highly-contested election in Israel in which Prime Minister Netanyahu is competing and during highly-sensitive international negotiations regarding Iran. In short, the address was poorly-timed and inappropriately executed.
The Prime Minister's speech has fired up plenty of controversy.
Michigan's Jewish community has been watching this closely.
Arthur Horwitz is the Publisher and Executive Editor of The Detroit Jewish News.
Horwitz thought Netanyahu’s speech was quite masterful and did a lot to try to diffuse the controversy around his appearance.
“I think what he did, at least through my lens, is diffuse, or at least make him less of the issue, and to have the message regarding the threat of a nuclear Iran be the focal point,” said Horwitz.
Horwitz said Netanyahu made a clear case that the deal the international community, including the U.S., is trying to broker with Iran is a “bad deal,” and that it is better to have no deal rather than a bad deal.
Horwitz thought Netanyahu did well to ensure his reelection in Israel in the coming weeks.
Horwitz said there were certainly bruised feelings about protocol, and that some were unable to separate the message from how the message was delivered in the U.S.