Tags: Israel | john boehner | benjamin netanyahu | invite | congress | state | department

State Department's Psaki: Boehner Invite for Netanyahu 'Bizarre'

By Greg Richter   |   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 08:32 PM

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted that an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress was a bit unusual, but declined to say whether it angered her boss, Secretary of State John Kerry.

"It was a bit of an episode of the bizarre today seeing all of this unfold," Psaki told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" on Wednesday. Kerry, too, found it unusual, she said.

Boehner extended the invitation on Wednesday, less that a day after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in which he called on Congress not to vote for sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Obama said such a move would hurt the administration's current negotiations.

Netanyahu, along with most Republicans, has been outspoken against the White House policy of allowing for an easing of sanctions during the talks. Critics say Iran is simply stalling while it boosts its nuclear weapons capability.

The White House called Boehner's invitation a breach of protocol, and Boehner himself admitted he didn't inform the White House of his actions ahead of time. Netanyahu has agreed to address a joint session of Congress on February 11 as it considers the sanctions bill.

Blitzer noted that the address could be a boost for Netanyahu, who is up for re-election March 17. Israeli opposition leaders have criticized Boehner's move, saying he is interfering with that country's election process.

"In an effort not to interfere in Israeli politics, I'm not going to weigh in too much on that other than to convey a range of officials in Israel are the experts on what interferes and what doesn't," Psaki said. "Certainly, we're all aware of the timing here and the timing of the Israeli elections."

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State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted that an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress was a bit unusual, but declined to say whether it angered her boss, Secretary of State John Kerry.
john boehner, benjamin netanyahu, invite, congress, state, department, israel
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