CBN News, JERUSALEM, Israel — Not long after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the invitation to speak to a joint session of Congress next month, the White House and State Department announced that neither President Barack Obama nor Secretary John Kerry would meet with him.
They cited the proximity of upcoming Israeli elections, saying top-level meetings might give the impression of favoring Netanyahu. The address itself was moved to March, in part to coincide with the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy meeting, which Netanyahu will also address.
This latest diplomatic tennis match has all the earmarks of past meetings between the two leaders.
Remember President Obama complaining to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a hot mike of having to deal with Netanyahu every day? Or the time the president left Netanyahu to fend for himself at mealtime? Or when the Israeli delegation was ushered into the White House through a back entrance?
Remember their taped conversations in the White House, with Obama sometimes looking uncomfortable as Netanyahu thanked him for his friendship with Israel?
When Obama came to Israel at the beginning of his second term, he was treated like a king. Israelis will fall over backward if you just say something nice to them. Obama exuded warmth and friendship during his visit.
It seems safe to say that from the beginning, the two leaders were destined to clash. They have differing worldviews, which makes interaction all the more difficult. Past displays of friendship appear to have been for public consumption.
The Obama administration also expressed support of a Palestinian unity government composed of the PLO’s (Palestine Liberation Organization) Fatah faction and Hamas, the Islamist faction ruling the Gaza Strip, which the United States, Britain, and Egypt designate a terror organization.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to differing views, such as future borders and the status of Jerusalem.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has been around Capitol Hill a long time. No doubt he’s very familiar with protocol between the legislative and executive branches.
Boehner believes a nuclear-armed Iran and Islamic extremism can no longer be put on a back burner. He also sees Israel as a U.S. ally and Netanyahu as a reliable leader.
The bottom line is all the stalling is playing into Iran’s ability to become a nuclear threshold state.
Netanyahu knows the stakes are too high to drop the ball. It seems Congress agrees. As such, both appear willing to play hardball with the White House if need be.
Report via CBN News