Tags: Barack Obama | Israel | Steve Cohen | Congress | Benjamin Netanyahu | campaign

Tenn. Rep. Cohen Rips Netanyahu for Using Congress in Campaign Ad

Friday, 13 Mar 2015 11:08 AM

Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using footage from his address to Congress this month in a TV commercial for his re-election campaign.

The Israeli Likud party released the ad on Thursday containing scenes of Netanyahu receiving a standing ovation on Capitol Hill from members of Congress, according to The Times of Israel.

Cohen skipped the speech along with other 50 other Democrats partially because Netanyahu was due to condemn President Barack Obama's plan to strike a nuclear deal with Iran.

The congressman said that he was also concerned that Netanyahu would use the speech to boost his election chances in Israel, where recent polls show the Likud would trail the opposition Zionist Union by five seats in Israel's Knesset following the election next week.

"I had hoped this prediction might have had a chilling effect and caused the prime minister to reconsider before using Congress as a campaign backdrop. Instead, my fears have been realized," Cohen said.

Cohen, who is Jewish, pointed out that members of Congress are banned from using congressional proceedings for their own campaign ads, while adding that the same rule should apply to foreign officials.

Story continues below video.

"The use of congressional proceedings in campaign ads is prohibited for members of Congress, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's predictable use of this footage is one of several reasons I did not attend his speech," Cohen said.

"I am saddened that Congress is once again being turned into theater and that the prime minister made our Capitol into a studio for his political ads, complete with teleprompters and a live studio audience."

The video shows scenes of Netanyahu speaking to the Knesset, panning across empty opposition seats, while mixing it up with footage of the Israeli leader speaking to a packed House chamber.

According to The Hill, Netanyahu has denied that his speech was meant to boost his re-election chances in Israel.

"I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive [it] as political. That was never my intention," said Netanyahu, who was invited to speak to Congress by House Speaker John Boehner.

Obama snubbed the address along with Vice President Joe Biden and declined to meet Netanyahu during his Washington trip.

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Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using footage from his address to Congress this month in a TV commercial for his re-election campaign.
Steve Cohen, Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu, campaign
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2015-08-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 11:08 AM
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