Tags: Barack Obama | Israel | Valerie Jarrett | obama | netanyahu | speech | congress

Obama Won't Even Be Watching Netanyahu Speech: White House

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 12:28 PM

President Barack Obama apparently intends to join with Vice President Joe Biden and over 50 other Democratic lawmakers in boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress.

Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the president's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, said Obama will be busy with "Let Girls Learn," a program to encourage female education and career retention, and unable watch the speech.

Jarrett told "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski, "As the president said yesterday, Mika, the speech has become a bit of a distraction. What’s important to keep in mind is the fundamental fact that the United States is Israel’s staunchest ally.

"The president is absolutely committed to the safety and security of Israel. We share a common goal of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons. We may disagree about the tactics of how to get there, but the important thing is that that’s our goal and that’s where we keep our focus."

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Pressed for exactly why Obama would skip watching Netanyahu's speech, Jarrett said, "Well, he’s got a full day today, and I hope we’re going to, in a second, our announcement for today. He’s action packed.

"He and the first lady are so excited about the new initiative that we’re going to launch and when you’re ready, I’d love to talk about that."

Asked whether Speaker of the House John Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress could undermine the relationship between the White House and Israel and Netanyahu, Jarrett said, "It can't be undermined.

"This isn't about one particular leader, because this is about the country and about our commitment to the country, so the president's not going to let anything undermine his commitment, and as long as he is president of the U.S. he's going to honor that commitment and work vigilantly to insure Israel's safety and security."

The Hill noted that Democrats are avoiding the speech because they see it as an attack on the Obama administration in its negotiations with Iran over the development of nuclear weapons. The administration has called the timing of the speech inappropriate, given that Netanyahu is soon to face an election in Israel.

Several of those Democrats have voiced support for Israel while planning to boycott the speech, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who said in a statement, "It’s unfortunate that Speaker Boehner’s actions on the eve of a national election in Israel have made Tuesday’s event more political and less helpful for addressing the critical issue of nuclear non-proliferation and the safety of our most important ally in the Middle East," The Guardian reported.

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President Barack Obama will be busy with "Let Girls Learn," a program to encourage female education and career retention, and unable to watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said.
Valerie Jarrett, obama, netanyahu, speech, congress
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2015-28-03
Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 12:28 PM
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