Fact-Check: Tim Kaine Was a Leader of the Boycott of Netanyahu

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Contrary to his denials, Democratic vice presidential nominee and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine most certainly was a leader in the boycott of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March 2015.

Kaine claimed to be proud of the boycott at the time. “I’m not dumb, I knew not going to the speech might make some folks mad with me – there would be a political price, but I felt so strongly as a matter of principle that this was done in an entirely inappropriate way,” he told Forward, denouncing Netanyahu’s speech as “done purely to try and influence the Israeli elections and demonstrate American support for one person and one party.”

Kaine was particularly incensed by Netanyahu’s criticism of the Iran nuclear deal – the same deal he now claims Israel supports.

“Kaine worked behind the scenes to try to delay the speech, but when that failed, was among the first Democratic senators to announce that they would not attend the address,” the Times of Israel reported in July.

The New York Sun had little patience for Kaine’s claims to have “paid a price” for his stance: “As for the price Mr. Kaine has supposedly paid for his willingness to boycott Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, he can now count his selection as his party’s vice presidential nominee. What a cost.”

The Sun declared that Clinton’s choice of “one of the eight Democrats who boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address last year to a joint meeting of Congress” as her running mate was “one marker of the fact that for all Mrs. Clinton’s protestations of support for the Jewish State, it would be a fool’s wager to count on her when the chips are down.”

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