According to reports, things have gotten ugly between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he accepted an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress next month on the threat posed by Iran.
The White House has interpreted the speaker’s invitation as an overt attempt to undermine the president’s continued negotiations with Iran on a nuclear deal—what Boehner blasted as a “bad deal” Wednesday in his announcement of Netanyahu’s visit, and a deal of which Netanyahu has been a vocal critic.
According to Haaretz, the White House is livid over Netanyahu’s planned congressional address, saying he failed to coordinate with the administration:
“We thought we’ve seen everything,” an unnamed senior U.S. official told Haaretz. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”
The Times of Israel notes that insiders said the language used by the administration to describe Netanyahu made the infamous “chickenshit” epithet seem “mild” in comparison.
Though Obama has reportedly demanded Netanyahu tone down his criticism of Iran and repeated calls for additional sanctions, the Israeli Prime Minister has continued undeterred. In his speech to the U.S. Congress, he is expected to urge once again for more stringent sanctions and greater vigilance concerning the Iranian threat.
John Kerry has also sounded his frustration with Netanyahu, a source close to him telling the Washington Post that “the secretary’ patience is not infinite”
“The bilateral relationship is unshakable,” he said. “But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”
Kerry reportedly sees the move as particularly disrespectful because of his recent efforts to convince world leaders to oppose a UN resolution to set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Democrat House leader Nancy Pelosi also spoke out on Netanyahu’s visit, saying Thursday that his visit wasn’t “appropriate or helpful.” In her remarks she particularly faulted Boehner for not consulting the White House or Democrats, despite, as TruthRevolt reported, having similarly defied the wishes of the Bush administration in 2007 by visiting the despotic Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and even attempting to negotiate on America’s behalf.