It was paid for by the NIAC, the outfit run by prominent Iranian-American author and pundit Trita Parsi. From their press release:
“The U.S. and its closest allies are on the brink of a historic deal that will both prevent an Iranian bomb and war with Iran, and Congressional hawks are orchestrating political stunts with foreign leaders to try to kill it,” said NIAC President Trita Parsi. “The American people do not want another senseless military adventure and certainly don’t consider Benjamin Netanyahu to be their commander in chief.”The statement also reminds us of this episode:
...in one of the most critical national security debates of our time – the decision of whether to invade Iraq – Netanyahu was brought to testify before Congress. In his remarks he advocated strongly for the war, telling lawmakers ‘if you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.’According to Jewish Voice for Peace, as of today, 29 members of Congress will skip Netanyahu's speech. You can sign their petition here.
Or, you can contact your members of Congress directly and tell them to #SkipTheSpeech:
House of Representatives
House of Representatives
UPDATE: Here's the Hill's 10-day-old list of those who have stated publicly they will skip the speech:
House (22)Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) — Wrote a Jan. 29 column in The Huffington Post explaining his decision, saying the Constitution “vests the responsibility for foreign affairs in the president.”Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.) — The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) focused on Boehner undermining Obama in a statement and emphasized he's not urging a boycott.Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) — Clyburn is the highest-ranking Democratic leader to say he’ll skip the speech.Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) — He is head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a member of the CBC and the first Muslim in Congress.Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) — Grijalva is a co-chairman of the CPC.Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) — A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Gutierrez has a "strong" record on Israel but called the speech "a stunt."Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) — "The Congresswoman has no plans to attend the speech at this time," a spokeswoman said.Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) — A member of the CBC and former head of the CPC.Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) — His office confirmed he’s not going but emphasized he's not organizing a formal boycottRep. Betty McCollum (Minn.): "In my view Mr. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is nothing more than a campaign event hosted by Speaker Boehner and paid for by the American people," McCollum said in a statement."Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.) — “I do not intend to attend the speech of Bibi,” he said in an email to a Seattle newspaper.Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) — A CBC member.Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas)Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) — "I'm offended as an American," he said on MSNBC.Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) — "We know what he is going to say," the Jewish lawmaker said in a statement.Senate (3)Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — Leahy called it a "tawdry and high-handed stunt," according to a Vermont newspaper.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, said it’s “wrong” that Obama wasn’t consulted about the speech.Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) — “The U.S.-Israel relationship is too important to be overshadowed by partisan politics," said Schatz in a statement. "I am disappointed in the Republican leadership’s invitation of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress with the apparent purpose of undermining President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.”