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WSJ/NBC Survey: 48 Percent Disapprove of Netanyahu Invite

Image: WSJ/NBC Survey: 48 Percent Disapprove of Netanyahu Invite
(Sebastian Scheiner/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 02 Mar 2015 09:38 AM

Nearly half 48 percent of American voters disapprove of Congressional Republicans extending an invite to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the negotiations with Iran over nuclear capability without the prior knowledge of the president, according to the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey.

Netanyahu on Tuesday is scheduled to address Congress on Israel's grave concerns about a nuclear Iran. The invitation by House Speaker John Boehner, and Netanyahu's acceptance, has sparked controversy domestically and abroad. The White House is angry that Boehner is said to have blindsided the Obama administration with the offer, saying it was a breach of protocol, adding that it also gives the appearance that the U.S. is trying to influence Israel's March 17 elections.

The Journal/NBC survey found that 30 percent of registered voters believe Congress should have invited Netanyahu, while just more than 20 percent said they didn't know enough to say.

Obama administration officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice have spoken out against both the invitation and Netanyahu's acceptance. Rice recently told PBS' Charlie Rose that the visit was "destructive of the fabric of the relationship."

Netanyahu on Sunday tried to assuage the administration's fears and reinforce Jerusalem's close ties with the U.S.

"I would like to take this opportunity to say that I respect U.S. President Barack Obama," he said Saturday at the Western Wall, Yahoo News reports. "He added that he believed in the strong bilateral ties and said, 'that strength will prevail over differences of opinion, those in the past and those yet to come.'"

The tenor is much improved from a couple of weeks ago, when White House spokesman Josh Earnest accused Israel of leaking information about the Iranian negotiations in order to taint public opinion, according to Reuters.

"We see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States," Earnest told reporters.

"There's no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate," Earnest added.

As Netanyahu boarded a plane in Tel Aviv bound for the U.S. on Sunday he reiterated that his trip was not political but rather a "mission" on behalf of the Jewish people, according to Yahoo.

"I'm going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission," he said. "I feel that I am an emissary of all Israel's citizens, even those who do not agree with me, and of the entire Jewish people."

Forty-seven percent of Americans view Israel positively, 17 percent negatively, according to the Journal/NBC survey. Netanyahu fared well with Republicans, 49 percent of whom said they viewed him in positive light, a sizable increase since August when he registered 36 percent. He's far less popular with Democrats: just 12 percent view Netanyahu positively, a nominal difference from August's 13 percent.

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Nearly half of American voters disapprove of Congressional Republicans extending an invite to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the negotiations with Iran over nuclear capability without the prior knowledge of the president.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Congress, speech
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2015-38-02
Monday, 02 Mar 2015 09:38 AM
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