Marco Rubio is going to the mat to defend Benjamin Netanyahu's March 3 speech to Congress, telling Democrats in a fiery Senate floor speech last week that they are hurting Israel by not attending, Vox reports.
Rubio said such solidarity against Netanyahu sends the wrong message around the world as Middle East terror threats continue to grow, and as he fears Israel becomes a more vulnerable target, Vox said.
"What do you think the headlines will be read as in Iran, by the terrorists in Gaza, by the terrorists in Judea and Samaria, by the terrorists in all parts of the world, such as in Lebanon, who want to destroy Israel?" said Rubio, who Vox added seemed to be using his moment to bolster his hawkish position in the region as he ponders a White House bid.
"What they are going to read into it, unfortunately, is that somehow Congress' commitment to the future security of Israel is not as strong as it once was," Rubio said. "And I fear what the implications of that will be."
Rubio argued that Democrats' decision to skip out on the speech "are only emboldening [Iran's Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and Israel's other enemies to take aggressive action against the country," Vox wrote. It said, however, that Netanyahu's decision to appear before Congress without the support of the president had created the political divide.
Obama has said that he would not attend the speech because Netanyahu was set for re-election, ThinkProgress noted.
"We have a practice of not meeting with leaders right before their elections, two weeks before their elections," the president said during a press conference last week. "I think it’s important for us to maintain these protocols — because the U.S.-Israeli relationship is not about a particular party."
Netanyahu's visit, organized by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, comes as the U.S. works to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, which has been under dispute for 12 years, the Washington Post said.
Republicans have argued that Obama does not want to hear a dissenting voice as talks continue over removing sanctions against Iran.
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