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White House Is Hostile as Republicans Hail Netanyahu

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Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 10:06 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Obama administration was at the highest level yet of hostility toward the visit to Washington of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. House Republicans signaled they would not only be in attendance at his address to a joint session of Congress but would cheer on the man nicknamed "Bibi."

"I’m anxiously awaiting the prime minister and what he has to say," said sophomore Rep. Ron DeSantis (R.-Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

"I’m not aware of any Republicans [in the House or Senate] who are not going to be there Tuesday," freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin (R.-N.Y.) told Newsmax, "and as far as I’m concerned, there should not be any conflict as to where every Member of Congress should be when [Netanyahu] speaks."

Zeldin, the lone Jewish Republican in Congress, likened the Israeli prime minister to Winston Churchill speaking to Congress two weeks after Pearl Harbor and "speaking forcefully of the fight of good versus evil at the time.

"Decades from now, when people listen to recordings or watch videos of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address, they will reflect on his eloquence and what he had to say about the world at the time. They won’t be talking about what objections to protocol were made."

Zeldin’s remarks came shortly before the White House ratcheted up its objections to Netanyahu’s visit, which will take place less than a week before Israeli elections March 7. On Tuesday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Charlie Rose of CBS News that Netanyahu’s planned speech would be "destructive to the fabric of the relationship between the two countries."

Later that day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Rice’s strongly-worded comment "was entirely consistent with what the President said publicly before."

"I first heard Bibi Netanyahu speak in the 1990s and I love the guy!" Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee told us, "I loved hearing his philosophy of limited government and I want to hear his opinion on the negotiations with Iran."

Salmon added that "Netanyahu believes that no agreement is better than a bad agreement" with Iran. He added his own opinion that we "should improve the sanctions on Iran, place new ones on the Tehran government and bring them to their knees."

Three-term Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an outspoken backer of tougher Iranian sanctions agreed, saying he "would absolutely be there for the prime minister." Kinzinger also said he found the President’s complaints "about Congress going around him in inviting Netanyahu very funny. He goes around Congress on so many things, most recently his executive action on illegal immigration."

The Illinoisan recalled how in '07, Democratic members of Congress led by then–speaker Nancy Pelosi "met with [Syrian President] Assad, a butcher of his own people, against the wishes of President George W. Bush."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



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The Obama administration was at the highest level yet of hostility toward the visit to Washington of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. House Republicans signaled they would...
democrats, republicans, benjamin netanyahu, israel, address, congress
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2015-06-26
Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 10:06 PM
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