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Progressive Caucus Chair: Netanyahu Speech To Congress An "Insult"

"Him insulting the presidency and siding with the Republicans and coming in to give that talk to a joint session, I think it smacks of politics."

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Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva Monday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned address to a joint session of Congress an "insult."

The Democrat from Arizona has previously said he will not attend the speech.

"Him insulting the presidency and siding with the Republicans and coming in to give that talk to a joint session, I think it smacks of politics," Grijalva said on Sirius XM's The Agenda in a radio interview. "It smacks of convenience, his election is a week away in Israel. And I for one am not going to contribute to that insult. There's a protocol and Mr. Boehner is not in charge of foreign policy for this nation. The president is in charge of that and whether you like Obama or not, that's the process."

Grijalva said "it's up to every individual" to decide if they wanted to attend the speech.

"You've had colleagues like John Lewis, Mr. Conyers...I've heard of other names but I don't want to use them because, uh, at least those two are public say, 'I'm not attending.' And I that's an individual choice each member should make."

"Personally, I'm not attending, for myself, and that's not a Progressive Caucus position or are we whipping them to do that," he added. "I think each member has to. I've felt the prime minister's intrusion into 2012, in practically endorsing Romney in that election was again an interference in the internal politics of a nation."

The congressman cited the protocol followed by the Pope to set up an address to Congress later this year as evidence Netanyhu was breaking protocol by speaking to Congress without the president's approval.

"If it's good enough for the pope it should be good enough for the prime minister."

This article originally gave the wrong state Grijalva represents in Congress.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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