After several weeks of complaining and snubbing by the Obama administration over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, turns out the White House has been lying all along.
Upon the announcement of the prime minister’s address to a joint session of Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner, the White House complained that it was a breach of protocol and diplomatic rules to accept the invitation without first notifying the White House.
Senior Obama officials were so angered by Netanyahu’s acceptance to address Congress, they charged that the Israeli leader “spat” in Obama’s face and could therefore not be trusted.
In a surprising correction issued by the New York Times, who was one of the first news outlets to break the story, it appears that the administration had been informed well in advance of the invitation before Netanyahu accepted it.
The correction, which was added on January 30 in the online version of the article only, stated:
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.
Despite what the White House has been saying, officials were in no way blindsided by Netanyahu’s invitation to speak to Congress.
Further compounding this fact, a recent report by Israel’s Channel 10 news reported on Friday that Netanyahu genuinely believed the invitation was a bipartisan effort to address the issue of a nuclear Iran.
According to the report, the prime minister “didn’t know” that the invitation did not have the blessing of the White House, even though they had already been notified of the invitation.
Netanyahu is attempting to do some damage control with the White House, trying “to soften” the Obama administrations anger and those of many Democrats, the report stated.
The report added that some 40 Democratic lawmakers are expected to boycott the speech and that the prime minister is apprehensive about a “second wave” of legislators joining the boycott as well. Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he will not be attending the speech.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told 102 FM Tel Aviv Radio that Netanyahu “hoped and believed” that the invitation was “bi-partisan, as the invite letter said – ‘a bi-partisan initiative’ – but because of the tensions between Congress and the administration, and between Republicans and Democrats, a problem erupted.”
On Thursday, Netanyahu stated that he would go ahead with the speech, saying it was “my obligation as the prime minister of Israel to speak out against the danger of a nuclear agreement with Iran, and to do everything I can to prevent it.”