Friday, February 13, 2015

My New House Rep Tammy Duckworth Responds To My Letter About Netanyahu

February 10, 2015
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me about Speaker Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress. I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this matter. 
Israel is one of our strongest allies and our greatest partner in the Middle East. Our two nations share an unbreakable bond and friendship built on our common values and mutual economic and security interests. I have repeatedly supported efforts to strengthen our relationship and ensure Israel's safety by voting to fully fund Israel's missile defense system, Iron Dome and supporting legislation to further strengthen sanctions against Iran. I have followed the nuclear negotiations carefully and on several occasions have sent letters to both Secretary Kerry and President Obama expressing concern about the potential for a nuclear armed Iran, their lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and their failure to release information and meet negotiating deadlines. I am very concerned, however, about the recent developments surrounding Speaker Boehner's invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress.
As you know, Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to Congress twice before. These previous invitations were in coordination with the White House and represented strong, unified support of Israel from our government. In fact, I was one of nearly 100 Members of Congress who wrote a bi-partisan letter to House Leadership last year urging them to extend an invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress during his visit to Washington. However, this invitation by Speaker Boehner was made without the Administration's knowledge. Circumventing the Executive Branch in dealing with a foreign head of state in this way is a significant breach of U.S. protocol, and it undermines our foreign policy objectives on a sensitive issue at a critical time. Unfortunately, these actions not only reflect poorly on our government on the international stage, but also have the potential to harm U.S. – Israeli relations; and this relationship is too important to place in the middle of a politically motivated disagreement.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. If you would like more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website. You can find upcoming events in the district, sign up for my newsletter, access my voting record and see what I am doing to address today's most important issues. I hope that you will continue to share your views and opinions with me and let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.
The Honorable Tammy DuckworthMember of Congress
Illinois' 8th District