The delegation was comprised of Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ken.).
One blogger thinks that this is an
example of Bibi placing his private political interests above those of the country he leads.
and presumes that he wants to isolate Kadima supporters and bolster Likudniks and that he can ill-afford to alienate allies in the U.S. Congress, "sacrificing the national interest for short-term political expediency".
While I am not privy to the reasoning for the refusal of the PM's office, I can guess that J Street simply has no standing there and if the Congressmen would have come under independent auspices, there would have been no problem. Bibi has no need, and neither does Israel, for J Street, which undermines in Congress the policies of Israel.
As for "private interests", I would suggest that Jeremy Ben-Ami and Co. possess exactly that, ideological positions that are radical and progressive and seek to weaken Israel so that their political interests could be adopted, thereby bypassing Israel's democratic system through pressure funded through money obtained rather secretely and perhaps, unethically.
This Minnesota newspaper is honest enough to note the problem in the "snub":
Rep. Betty McCollum...is in the Middle East all week on a trip sponsored by the liberal Jewish group J Street, which has been extremely critical of Netanyahu's policies and advocates for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Criticism, I guess, works both ways for Bibi.
Iwill be useful to get out the fact that 4/5 of the congressmen signed the "letter of 54." See here.
The congressmen met with the Pal leadership and put all the blame on Israel, according to Maan:
Congressman Steve Cohen said the visit aimed to accelerate the peace process. He encouraged both Israelis and Palestinians to take actions, resume negotiations and give peace a chance.