Before he delivers his controversial address to Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to give a sneak peak of his speech Monday morning to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the premier Israel lobby in Washington. Netanyahu is expected to speak on the dangers of an agreement between the United States, five other countries, and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech, which gets begins at 10 a.m. EST, is being live-streamed by the pro-Israel lobbying group. You can watch the speech below:
The White House usually sends representatives to the AIPAC conference, but the icy relations between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama set a different tone for this year’s event. The Obama administration almost didn’t send anyone to the event, but at the last minute said it would dispatch Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, according to NPR. Rice’s attendance at the AIPAC conference is noteworthy because last week she categorized Netanyahu’s coming speech to Congress as “disruptive” to U.S.-Israeli relations.
The speech has also divided Israelis, including those who said they believed the prime minister’s speech amounted to electioneering with Israeli elections only two weeks away. Others said they believed the address would make Iran more motivated to seek nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu is expected to slam Obama’s strategy of negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. The prime minister is against such a deal, claiming that Tehran can’t be trusted. Meanwhile, the Obama administration said backing out of negotiations would just embolden Iran further to pursue nuclear weapons.
The controversial speech to Congress has also caused unease among American Jews who are concerned that the politics surrounding the address will overshadow Netanyahu’s message. And some Democratic members of Congress said politics is tainting the speech.
“I stand with Israel, always have stood with Israel, and always will, but this speech is not about Israel,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech, told the New York Times. “Netanyahu is not Israel just like George W. Bush wasn’t America.”