Photo Credit: White House.gov
US President Barack Obama speaking on the phone aboard Air Force One.

A spokesperson for President Barack Obama is making sure Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his boss is disgruntled.

The White House says it is “reserving judgment” of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress about Iran on February 11, but that the event to which the prime minister has been asked to speak “is a departure from protocol.” The event is being held at the first branch of the American government, the legislative branch.

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Netanyahu’s planned visit comes in response to a direct invitation by Congressional Speaker John A. Boehner, who asked the prime minister to address lawmakers of both houses on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. Boehner extended the invitation Wednesday, Jan. 21, less than 24 hours after Obama snubbed the Congress on the issue in his State of the Union address, broadcast live Tuesday night local time on national television.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing aboard Air Force One that it had not yet spoken with Israeli government officials. He said U.S. officials are reserving judgment on prime minister’s visit until they hear from their Israeli counterparts about Netanyahu’s plans.

“The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama. “This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” he added dryly in a clear poke at Israel’s top leader and the Speaker.

As has been the case for some time, there is obviously no deep friendship between the American president and the Israeli prime minister. Nor have Obama’s staff in recent months bothered to trouble themselves to hide their own personal distaste for most members of the Israeli administration.

But this latest sarcasm makes it plain the president is now granting new privileges to those who speak for him; or perhaps he is no longer chooses to restrain his own emotions in the interest of diplomacy or simple good taste.

Sadly, this particular battle is not even with Netanyahu although Obama has decided to make it so: actually it’s between the president and his Congress, and Israel’s prime minister is just being caught in the crossfire.

In his address, Obama vowed to veto any measure that in any would infringe on negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear development activities.

Israel’s voters, meanwhile, are facing a national election in March. Netanyahu will have to answer to his constituents at the ballot box himself and explain what, if anything, he has or has not done to eliminate the existential threat to Israel presented by Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned the international community, and the United States, that Israel will never allow Iran to achieve its goal in creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction.

No Israeli government official, and few – if any – intelligence officials in the world today actually believe Iran’s claims that it is continuing to increase and upgrade its uranium enrichment activities for “peaceful purposes only.”

Even if the Supreme Leader himself crosses his heart and solemnly says so.

 

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Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Netanyahu has all the strategic wisdom of General Custer- Obama, correct or incorrect in his perceptions, at least does not just tell Israel exactly what it wants to hear at every single turn- What a slave art thou to believe the flattery vows of the ambitious smiling Joes looking for money and votes- How foolish and embarrassing are you?

  2. "The second branch of the American government" is the presidency. The first branch is Congress, created and governed by Article I — that would be the first Article — of the Constitution. The President is dealt with in Article II. That's no accident: it's a function of the fact that the U.S. is a government of and by, as well as for, the people.

    Congress always has the right to invite whomever it wants to come and address it; nothing in any book of protocol says otherwise. My own hope is that Congress will have the courage to do more than applaud the actual leader of the free world, Bibi Netanyahu, when he address them and explains the peril that faces civilization. Congress is going to have to muster the courage to override Obama's veto. The survival of the world may well depend on whether they can manage that feat of heroism.

  3. Proof positive not all cheese eating surrender monkey are French.

  4. Boehner finally developed a spine – glad he extended the invite and even more glad that BiBi accepted it. Obama is a Marxist/Muslim who is on the side of the terrorists, has funded them and now couldn't care less about the world knowing it. Meantime, we need to stop Iran's effort at getting nuclear weapons. It's not optional, its a must!

  5. We Americans (excluding the leftists) are well aware of exactly what Obama is all about. Our problem is we have a congress that's afraid to impeach him – even though we have more than enough breaches of the law to charge Obama with treason, over-reaching his authority, aiding and abetting the enemy, Benghazi and so much more. Republicans are afraid to impeach the first black (not legally entitled to run, let alone hold the office of president) president. This is why I stated above that I was glad Boehner finally grew a spine.

  6. obama is a pathological liar, who has no moral fiber. His goal is to destroy Israel and bring America down. Israel cannot trust him or anything his sycophants say or write. Our USA Congress MUST enforce our Constitution and Separation of Powers – and reign him in. PM Netanyahu is hated by obama because he refuses to do what the evil o wants.

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