Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a possible Republican in the 2016 presidential election, said on Wednesday that he is “eager” to hear Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month, Reuters reported.
Bush also said he was surprised by the White House's reaction to the planned speech, which is organized by congressional Republicans.
“I don’t blame him for wanting to share his views and in fact, I think it will be important for the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region,” he was quoted by MSNBC as having said.
The speech has become a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats. Obama's allies fear the trip could be used by Israel and by Republicans to undercut ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
The White House has 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.
Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has announced that he will be travelling abroad during the joint session of Congress and will not be present when Netanyahu gives his speech.
House Speaker John Boehner, who extended the invitation to Netanyahu, explained on Sunday that he felt it was important to do an end-run around White House "interference," amid a raging debate over whether to soften sanctions on Tehran.
"I wanted to make sure that there was no interference," he said about his decision to issue the invitation to the Israeli leader.
The speech has caused controversy in Israel as well, with leftists seeking to ban it from being aired on Israeli TV due to possible violations of Israel’s election laws.
The head of the Central Elections Committee, Judge Salim Joubran, ruled on Monday that the speech will be broadcast with a five-minute delay, allowing editors to censor remarks by the Prime Minister that they deem as electioneering.