Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

MKs and activists on the left decried the invitation Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received to speak before Congress in February, claiming that the speech would unfairly impact Israel's upcoming elections.

While they cannot prevent Netanyahu from speaking, they hope to do the next best thing: Prevent Israelis from seeing their Prime Minister honored by members of the House and Senate, and from hearing what he has to say.

On Thursday, attorney Eldad Yaniv, who has strong connections to Labor, filed a petition with the Central Elections Committee to demand that Israeli media outlets not broadcast Netanyahu's speech live.

In the petition, Yaniv said that broadcasting the speech would entail several violations of Israel's election laws, as it would likely be used for electioneering by the Prime Minister.

Better safe than sorry, said Yaniv, urging Salim Joubran, the High Court judge who presides over the committee, to issue an order against broadcast of the speech.

House Speaker John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu on Wednesday, did not consult with the White House or the State Department over the invitation, political sources said.

Instead, Boehner’s and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff coordinated with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

“Congress can make this decision on its own,” he was quoted as having told reporters. “I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night kind of papered over it. And the fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists, and the threat posed by Iran.”

It is not clear if the Central Elections Committee has the authority to issue such a ruling, but Yaniv is prepared to take the matter to “other forums,” he said, such as the High Court.