U.S. Rep. Alma Adams is expected to be the only Carolinas Democrat present Tuesday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress.
Adams, from Greensboro, is one of only four Democrats among 20 members of Congress from the Carolinas.
The three others – Reps. G.K. Butterfield and David Price of North Carolina and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina – plan to avoid the speech.
According to Politico, about three dozen Democrats of the 232 in Congress plan to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.
Some Democrats have said Republican House Speaker John Boehner broke protocol when he invited the prime minister without consulting the White House.
Butterfield, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, has called Boehner’s invitation “a political stunt.”
“His actions unnecessarily politicize our steadfast relationship with Israel, and potentially subvert U.S. foreign policy,” Butterfield said in a statement. “The United States is and will remain Israel’s strongest ally. However, I refuse to be a part of a political stunt aimed at undercutting President Obama.”
Adams, who represents the 12th District, plans to attend despite the dust-up over the invitation.
“She’s definitely disappointed by the way he was invited,” said Rhonda Foxx, Adams’ chief of staff. “But at the end of the day he is coming. And one thing she has learned after being a professor for 40 years is the need to listen.”
Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican who met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem last month, chided colleagues who don’t plan to attend the address.
“They’re missing a very important message for the United States as well as Israel regarding our own national security,” Pittenger said Monday. “It’s too bad that politics got in the way… I think we need to have clearer heads and go beyond trying to make a political statement. These issues are much too grave for that.”