Despite claiming to be “buddies” with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Vice President of the United States will not be attending Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress.
"The Vice President's office expects that the Vice President will be traveling abroad during the joint session of Congress," an official said Friday, according to the AFP news agency.
Biden’s announcement comes two days after several Democratic senators said that they were considering boycotting Netanyahu's speech before Congress, in an act of protest against House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu without the knowledge of either the White House's or Democratic leaders in Congress.
The speech has become a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans, as Democrats accuse Boehner of politicizing the relationship between the United States and Israel.
Boehner defended the action, saying Congress has every right, as a separate branch of government, to operate without the administration's input.
The White House originally gave an icy response to news that Netanyahu was invited to address Congress, saying it was a departure from diplomatic protocol. It later made clear that neither President Barack Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet Netanyahu while he is in Washington, explaining that American policy is not to meet foreign leaders on dates that are close to national elections in their countries.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that there will be no “organized” boycott of Netanyahu’s speech, but suggested some lawmakers might “just be too busy” to attend.
Netanyahu’s speech is expected to focus on Iran, an issue on which he and Obama do not see eye to eye.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)