Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has turned down Senate Democrats who issued a threatening invitation to a closed-door meeting with the party during his controversial trip to Washington next month.
The invitation was issued by liberal Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California in a letter on Tuesday that barely disguised how badly Democrats are seething that Netanyahu accepted an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to speak before a joint meeting of Congress in March.
“This unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel — which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply,” Durbin and Feinstein wrote, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“To maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress, we invite you to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators during your upcoming visit to Washington.”
It noted that Netanyahu’s visit could have “lasting repercussions” on Israel’s relationship with the United States.
The veiled, bullying tone is remarkable — make nice or else. Netanyahu probably gets friendlier invitations from the Palestinians.
Not surprisingly, he turned it down flat – on the logical grounds that meeting behind closed doors with one political party in America would only heighten the political tensions surrounding his visit.
But he answered with the dignity of an adult with adult concerns, talking to squabbling children.
“I regret that the invitation to address the special joint session of Congress has been perceived by some to be political or partisan,” Netanyahu wrote.
“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.”
The man doesn’t have room for games.
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