Feinstein: Netanyahu 'Doesn't Speak for Me'

Senator Dianne Feinstein blasts Netanyahu over his Congress speech, says he is arrogant to assert he speaks for all Jews.

Elad Benari,

Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
Reuters

Senator Dianne Feinstein on Sunday launched a verbal attack against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his upcoming speech to Congress.

Speaking to CNN, the Democrat from California said that Netanyahu is "arrogant" for asserting that he speaks for all Jews, adding that he doesn't speak for her.

Feinstein said she would attend Netanyahu's speech and would “listen respectively -- respectfully. I don't intend to jump up and down. And I hope he will speak about what happens if there isn't an agreement.”

“I happen to believe Israel is a lot safer with an agreement that's agreed to by all of the big powers, including ourselves, than it is if there is no agreement and if Iran decides to break out. Then Israel attacks Iran. Iran attacks back. What happens? What happens?” she continued.

Asked whether Netanyahu speaks for her when he says he's speaks for all Jews,” Feinstein replied, “No, he doesn't speak for me on this. He doesn't at all speak for me on this. I think it's a rather arrogant statement.”

She continued, “I think the Jewish community is like any other community. There are different points of view. So, I -- I think that arrogance does not befit Israel, candidly. I think Israel is a nation that needs to be protected, that needs to stand free, that hopefully can work constructively with Palestinians to have a side-by-side state, and to put an end to the bitterness that has plagued this whole area.”

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress has become a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.

The invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress was extended by House Speaker John Boehner, who did so without  consulting the White House or the Democrats, and later explained he felt it was important to do an end-run around White House "interference".

Democrats were outraged, with Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy saying he would not attend the speech and accusing Republican leaders in the House of Representatives of "unilaterally" arranging and politicizing Netanyahu's planned address.

Other lawmakers threatened to boycott the speech as well. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said there would be no organized "boycott" of Netanyahu's speech, but she suggested some lawmakers might “be too busy to attend”.

Last week, Feinstein and fellow Senator Richard Durbin invited Netanyahu to meet with Senate Democrats during his trip to Washington.

Netanyahu declined the invitation, explaining that he believes” that doing so at this time could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit.” He does, however, have a bipartisan lunch meeting with the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate scheduled for after his speech on Tuesday.




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