In a a searing rebuke of the Israeli prime minister, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Tuesday that Bibi Netanyahu’s upcoming speech in front of a joint session of Congress has cast a partisan pall over the ties between the two close allies and threatened the “fabric” of the relationship.
In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Rice faulted both Netanyahu and the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, who extended the invitation to the prime minister to address Congress on Iran, for creating the current “destructive” situation.
“What has happened over the last several weeks, 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 which is not only unfortunate; it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship,” she said.
“The relationship between Israel as a country and the United States as a country has always been bipartisan,” Rice noted, emphasizing that keeping US-Israel ties free of local politics was in the best interest of both countries. “It’s always been bipartisan; we need to keep it that way,” she said. “We want it that way. I think Israel wants it that way, the Israeli people want it that way. When it becomes infused with politics that’s a problem.”
Netanyahu’s speech is controversial because it puts Israel on a collision course with the Obama administration as it negotiates with Iran over its nuclear program – talks that in their current form pose an existential risk to Israel, Netanyahu has warned. Thus, he intends to argue before Congress on March 3, the international community should increase its pressure on Iran, rather than ease sanctions against it under the reported terms of an emerging nuclear deal.
Read more at The Times of Israel.