Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington to implore Congress not to allow a nuclear deal with Iran "is destructive of the fabric of the relationship" between Israel and the U.S., Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, said Tuesday on PBS' "Charlie Rose" show.
According to Rice, until the last several weeks, the two nations have always enjoyed a bipartisan relationship.
"By virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker, and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks in advance of his election is that on both sides there has now been injected a degree of partisanship," Rice told Rose.
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Rice’s words constitute "the strongest public rebuke to date" by the Obama White House since House Speaker John Boehner extended the invitation to Netanyahu, according to The New York Times
, which notes that striking a deal with Iran is "a priority of Obama’s."
Netanyahu’s acceptance has angered the president and resulted in a trickle-down effect from his Cabinet. Vice President Joe Biden, the president of the Senate, is skipping Netanyahu’s visit as is Secretary of State John Kerry.
On Tuesday, the Times reported, Netanyahu repeated his position that "it was his obligation to 'do everything I can to prevent' a nuclear agreement with Iran" since "the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement between the major powers and Iran."
Netanyahu declined an invitation by Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and California’s Dianne Feinstein to have a private meeting with the Senate minority during his visit, according to Politico
"I regret that the invitation to address the special joint session of Congress has been perceived by some to be political or partisan. I can assure you that my sole intention in accepting it was to voice Israel’s grave concerns about a potential nuclear agreement with Iran that could threaten the survival of my country," Netanyahu wrote to a letter to Durbin and Feinstein.
"Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic senators, I believe that doing so could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit. I would, of course, be glad to address a bipartisan forum of senators behind closed doors on a future visit, as I have been privileged to do many times in the past."
Yahoo News reported
earlier this month that Israel is considering a military response to Iran if it is allowed to have nukes.
"I won't be too specific but all options are still on the table," Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said. "We never limited Israel's right of self-defense because of some diplomatic constraints."
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