“Washington, D.C. – Susan Rice, the US National Security Advisor, sharply criticized the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress next week as “destructive,” just the latest shot in a back-and-forth between the White House and Netanyahu.
“Rice said Tuesday that Netanyahu’s decision to accept a unilateral invitation from House Speaker John Boehner behind President Barack Obama and his administration’s backs injected politics and “a degree of partisanship” into the US-Israeli relationship.
Netanyahu will address Congress next week where he is expected to sound the alarm over Iran and negotiations underway in Geneva.
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““What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker, the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of this election, is that on both sides there has now been injected a degree of partisanship which is not only unfortunate but it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship,” Rice said Tuesday in an interview on PBS.
“Rice added that the relationship between Israel and the US “has always been bipartisan.” Administration officials and American diplomats were fuming after Boehner announced that Netanyahu would address Congress about Iran. Obama asked Netanyahu over the phone just about a week before to give him some space on negotiations with Iran and not lobby against his position and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer met with Secretary of State John Kerry just a day before without mentioning plans for the address.
“Some Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, plan to skip out on Netanyahu’s address because of the snub and because Netanyahu will be directly opposing Obama’s diplomatic efforts on Iran. And Israeli leaders, including former President Shimon Peres, have criticized Netanyahu’s visit as damaging to the relationship with the United States.
Speaking exclusively to Newslo, National Security Advisor Rice said “mutual understanding is crucial in these types of situations.”
“I’ve already said that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s secretive address is very damaging to the relationship between our two countries, but we are prepared to exert a certain level of understanding, and even forgiveness. On the other hand, the same is expected from him – he needs to understand that, although the relationship between the US and Israel has been traditionally prosperous, the US will still need to support its best friend in the Middle East, which at this point in time happens to be Iran. It’s sort of like a threesome – the wife should not get angry at her husband for focusing on the other girl; after all, the wife is the reason the other girl is there.”