Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Israel | Middle East | Steve Malzberg Show | War on Terrorism | Obama

Sen. Orrin Hatch: Obama's Snub of Netanyahu Is a Mistake

By    |   Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:32 PM

President Barack Obama is wrong not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but has never been a big backer of Israel in the first place, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Thursday on Newsmax TV.

"They don’t agree on a lot of things, that's one of the reasons, but I don't think the president is a big strong supporter of Israel either, and I am," Hatch, a Utah Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"Benjamin Netanyahu has been one of the best prime ministers they've had there."

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On Thursday, the White House said Obama has decided not to meet with Netanyahu when he visits Washington in March.

The announcement came a day after the president was caught unprepared by a GOP invitation to Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress, which some believe broke protocol.

But Hatch — the Beehive State's senior senator, a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and president pro tempore of the Senate — doesn't buy it.

"When does the right to invite somebody to speak to a joint session of Congress depend upon the president? I don't think it does," Hatch told Steve Malzberg.

"They've made a mistake in raising such a hullabaloo about it and they're making a mistake by not meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Bibi is a very solid guy. Yeah, they probably don't agree with him, but so what? Do they agree with the Iranians?"

Hatch said he has heard rumors that the Mossad — the national intelligence agency of Israel — has lobbied members of Congress not to enhance the sanctions on Iran.

"I've heard … they differ with Netanyahu and the Mossad is a tough bunch of people. It is a separate agency, no question about it, but I'd like to hear more about it," he said.

But Hatch added that he heard that a sanctions bill being worked on has already been watered down by the Democrats, "from what I've been told."

"Sen. [Bob] Menendez [a New Jersey Democrat] has done a very good job. He's really tried to hold the line, but he's got to deal with the people on his side."

Hatch also said the Republican-controlled Congress remains adamant about dismantling the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. But it may be a tough task.

"The leadership, we all want to get rid of Obamacare, but we all recognize that no matter what we do the president would veto it," he said.

"But that doesn't mean that we're not going to do what we can do and there are some things that may come up where they're going to need our help.

"It's a terrible bill. It's costing an arm and a leg, it's not doing the job. It's been falsely advertised, not only by the president, but by others as well."

Hatch called the healthcare law "one of the most pathetic bills that I've seen in years."

"Democrats are stuck with it so they have to stick with it no matter what happens. That's a mistake. Sooner or later, we're finding some of them are getting a little shaky about it," he said.

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President Barack Obama is wrong not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but has never been a big backer of Israel in the first place, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Thursday on Newsmax TV.
Obama, Netanyahu, Israel, prime minister, congress, invitation, snub, Hatch
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2015-32-22
Thursday, 22 January 2015 08:32 PM
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