Congressman Cohen: Netanyahu’s Use of Congressional Video in New Campaign Ad Contradicts House Rules, Lays Bare Political Motive Behind Speech

March 12, 2015
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today criticized the use of Congressional video footage in a new campaign advertisement released by the Israeli Likud party, which is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On several occasions both before and after the Prime Minister’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress last week, Congressman Cohen warned of the potential use of this footage for a political purpose.  Use of video of House floor proceedings is prohibited by House Rules.

“Based on his already having used a speech before Congress as political campaign ad material, I predicted that Prime Minister Netanyahu would use this speech before Congress for political purposes,” said Congressman Cohen. “I had hoped this prediction might have had a chilling effect and caused the Prime Minister to reconsider before using Congress as a campaign backdrop.  Instead, my fears have been realized.”

The Congressman continued: “The use of Congressional proceedings in campaign ads is prohibited for Members of Congress and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s predictable use of this footage is one of several reasons I did not attend his speech. I am saddened that Congress is once again being turned into theater and that the Prime Minister made our Capitol into a studio for his political ads, complete with Teleprompters and a live studio audience.”

While likely not enforceable against foreign leaders, House Rule V clearly states: “Coverage… (1) may not be used for any partisan political campaign purpose; (2) may not be used in any commercial advertisement.”