Pro and anti demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Capitol to protest and support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Demonstrators from both sides gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to protest and support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress. Members from the ANSWER Coalition an acronym for "Act Now to Stop War and End Racism" held signs in protest of Netanyahu's visit. "We think this speech is an outrage. 63% of the American people agree with us and think the speech should've been canceled," said Brian Becker, the national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition. Supporters of Netanyahu also turned out for the demonstration. One supporter saying, "Netanyahu is here to send a message to prevent a nuclear holocaust, a nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East." By early Tuesday, as many as 60 of the 232 congressional Democrats had indicated that they planned to sit out the speech to protest what they see as a politicization of Israeli security, an issue on which Congress is usually united. The absence of so many lawmakers could be politically embarrassing for Netanyahu at home two weeks before an Israeli general election. Many Israelis are wary of estrangement from a U.S. ally that provides their country with wide-ranging military and diplomatic support. A House aide said congressional staffers would be allowed to take any unfilled seats, which would prevent television cameras from dwelling on empty spots in the legislative chamber. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the Republican whose unilateral invitation to Netanyahu triggered the diplomatic storm, said on Tuesday he expected a capacity crowd to hear the speech and played down any divisions. "America's bond with Israel is stronger than the politics of the moment," he said in a video message.