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Josh Rogin and Eli Lake

Trapped Democrats Can't Decide on Netanyahu Speech

Many Democrats in Congress say they are undecided on attending the speech. Aipac has some advice for them.
Who will join them?

Who will join them?

Photographer: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Caught between their party loyalty to President Barack Obama and the popularity of Israel in Congress, most Senate Democrats refuse to say whether they will attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress next week.

When Netanyahu addresses lawmakers March 3 to talk about the threat of the Iranian nuclear program and his objections to the deal being negotiated in Geneva, Republicans will attend with enthusiasm. But there could be scores of empty seats on the Democratic aisle, which House Speaker John Boehner would have to fill with staffers. Democrats are unsure if they will stage a boycott in protest of the way the speech came about, with Boehner and Netanyahu intentionally keeping their plans from the White House.