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Is it significant that U.S. congressman John Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat who also happens to be Jewish, issued a statement Thursday saying he would not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress.Yarmuth also speaks openly about political and electoral dynamics that generally are not discussed in the public debate in the U.S.Yarmuth stated that members of Congress would be judged by some outside organizations according to their attendance or absence from the speech, and absentees might suffer electoral consequences. This, of course, is a core operating mechanism for pro-Israel groups in the U.S. who use financial, political and public opinion pressures to defeat Congress members (including Charles Percy, Paul Findley and others) who do not squarely and consistently line up behind the positions that the right-wing in Israel dictates to them. That Yarmuth would allude to this in his statement is itself noteworthy. Also significant is the delicate point that Yarmuth referred to in an oblique way, which is that members of Congress might find themselves caught between two loyalties – to Israel or the United States.
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