Jumping on US Vice President Joe Biden's announcement the day before that he would be travelling when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses Congress two weeks before March 17 elections, leading leftist politicians launched a fusillade of criticism against Netanyahu on Saturday.
Leading the charge was Yitzhak Herzog of Labor, whose party has combined with Tzipi Livni's Hatnua to form the "Zionist camp."
"This speech that was born in sin as an elections production endangers the security of Israeli citizens and the special relations between Israel and the United States," claimed Herzog.
Ironically Netanyahu's speech is to focus on the Iranian nuclear program and the danger it poses to the security of Israeli citizens.
House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner, invited Netanyahu for the speech without informing the White House or Democratic leaders in Congress, and has defended his invitation noting Congress is an independent branch of government and does not need administration permission.
Herzog continued his vitriolic attack on Netanyahu, referring to him by his nickname and saying "with all due respect to his campaign, Bibi needs to manage it as an Israeli patriot and not throw Israel's security under the elections bus."
Making the leftist criticism ironic is the fact that former President Shimon Peres, when he was prime minister for Herzog's Labor 19 years ago, went to visit then US President Bill Clinton a mere month before elections, a move which Netanyahu as then opposition head strongly criticized.
Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, joined in the attack, saying Netanyahu "succeeded in getting into a fight with the White House and now also with half of the Congress. This is a political act whose entire goal is to gather a few more votes in elections."
The reference to "half of the Congress" refers to the fact that several Democratic Senators have discussed the possibility of boycotting Netanyahu's speech. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi floated this possibility last Thursday, but said she herself would attend.
"We are in a progressing political attack – this is a finger in the eye of the United States president," opined Labor MK Shelly Yechimovich.
She added "this is a dubious political bonus that causes a deep split with the American administration. If he (Netanyahu) fears that they will mock him I promise him that if he does the right thing and cancels the performance, we won't use that in a political campaign."
Herzog's political partner Livni also commented on the speech, remarking "this shows how much in terms of the speech Netanyahu thinks of his own benefit and not of the benefit for the nation."
"He jokes (when he says) he is aware of the young and poor, he jokes also that he is aware of the deterioration in relations with the United States," Livni concluded.