Black Pastors Have Fiery Words for Those Who Boycotted Israeli Prime Minister’s Speech
When House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit the United States and address Congress, a prerogative previously exercised only by presidents, lawmakers quickly divided on the issue. Approximately two dozen House and Senate Democrats, most of whom are members of the Congressional Black Congress, have said they will boycott Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session.
Recently, a group of prominent black pastors issued a strong message to the Caucus, admonishing them not to insult the prime minister by refusing to attend.
“The thing to me that makes no sense is why the Congressional Black Caucus has teamed up with this current administration against Israel,” said Pastor Dexter D. Sanders of the Rock Center for Transformation in Orlando, Florida.
“And yes, black caucus, I’m saying you have gone against Israel when you decide to protest the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, from coming and speaking on the behalf of the nation of Israel,” Mr. Sanders said. “That is a slap in the face to the people of Israel, and not only that, it’s a slap in the face to God. And not only that, it’s also a slap in the face of all Bible-believing African-American people in this country.”
The Christian pastors, representing churches nationwide from California to New York, delivered an often fiery defense on behalf of the speech at Thursday’s press conference at the National Press Club, organized by the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
Some black caucus members have argued that the Netanyahu speech comes as an insult to President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli prime minister without first checking with the president, although Mr. Netanyahu has said he notified the White House before accepting.
Pastor Cecil Blye of More Grace Ministries in Louisville, Kentucky, dismissed suggestions that the House violated protocol by extending the invitation to weigh in on U.S. negotiations with Iran.
“Charges from some members of the United States Congress about the breaking of protocol are no more than a very red herring,” Mr. Blye said. “The American people need to hear Israel’s voice on this urgent matter now. If one side of the aisle can facilitate this, so be it.”
A coalition of left-wing organizations, including Roots Action, American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Code Pink, have been pressuring lawmakers not to attend the speech.
Mr. Burnett says he finds it “deplorable” that political factions are encouraging a boycott or even a walk-out during the visit from the prime minister of one of America’s closest allies. He believes this is an insult to America’s greatest ally in the war against terror.