Tags: Barack Obama | Israel | Netanyahu | Israeli | Obama | spat in face | prime minister

WH Officials: Netanyahu 'Spat in Our Face' Over Boehner Invitation

By    |   Friday, 23 Jan 2015 07:43 PM

White House officials angrily denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for responding favorably to House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to speak before Congress in March, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the prime minister had "spat" in President Barack Obama’s face.

"There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price," an unnamed senior U.S. official said.

U.S. officials said that the "chickens***" epithet that an anonymous administration official used to describe the Israeli leader several months ago was mild compared to the language used in the White House when officials learned of Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress.

When he speaks before Congress in March, Netanyahu is expected to urge lawmakers to impose tougher sanctions on Iran in order to force it to stop its suspect nuclear program, The Times of Israel reported.

Haaretz reported that last week Obama personally demanded in a telephone conversation with Netanyahu that the Israeli leader tone down his support for new sanctions legislation — a measure Obama has promised to veto.

The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent "disrespect" for the U.S. leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made many efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage. This included dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have set a time frame for establishment of a Palestinian state.

"The secretary’s patience is not infinite," a source close to Kerry told the Post. "The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender."

Meanwhile, Israel's intelligence chief has denied Kerry's claim that he contradicted Netanyahu, his boss, by criticizing new sanctions during a January meeting, saying that they would be akin to "throwing a grenade into the process."

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo denied saying any such thing during a Jan. 19 meeting with U.S. officials. Instead, the Mossad director said he reiterated that "firm pressure" was needed "to bring about meaningful compromises from the Iranian side."

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White House officials angrily denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for responding favorably to House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to speak before Congress in March, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the prime minister had "spat" in President Barack Obama’s face.
Netanyahu, Israeli, Obama, spat in face, prime minister, Congress, Boehner, invitation
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Friday, 23 Jan 2015 07:43 PM
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