Nadler blasts Boehner over Netanyahu’s visit

Says House speaker should have consulted White House

February 2, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler calls House Speaker John Boehner’s move “a reprehensible act.” Photo courtesy Nadler’s office

House Speaker John Boehner committed a big blunder by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of congress without first consulting the White House, according to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who said the controversial move could have major implications.

Nadler (D-Bensonhurst-Manhattan) said Boehner, a Republican, should have consulted the Obama Administration before extending the invitation to Netanyahu. He also accused Boehner of putting politics above the need for the U.S. to show a united front in its foreign policy.

“He has demonstrated that he is willing to play childish games with our most serious questions of war and peace, and is equally willing to put partisan advantage over Israel’s security. That the speaker would seek to undermine the historic bi-partisan support for Israel in this way is an unprecedented, reprehensible act worthy of condemnation by both sides of the aisle, and from all friends of Israel,” Nadler said in a scathing statement. 

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Whatever differences exist between the two political parties, there has always been a history of cooperation when it comes to foreign dignitaries visiting the U.S., according to Nadler, who said that the spirit of cooperation has now been ruptured.

At issue is an invitation Boehner extended to Netanyahu to speak to joint session of congress on March 3, an invitation the Israeli prime minister has accepted. Netanyahu, who faces an election on March 17, is expected to speak about the threat Iran’s nuclear program poses to Israel. The speech will take place at a time when the U.S. is involved in delicate negotiations with Iran.

The White House was blind-sided by the news that Netanyahu was coming to the speech, according to Reuters. “The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” Reuters quoted White House spokesman Josh Ernest as saying.

“True friends of Israel understand that bi-partisan support, going back to Harry Truman, has been essential for the safety of Israel and to the success of the US-Israel strategic partnership. It would be very wise for both parties to this invitation to consider measures to mitigate the damage this political maneuvering has inflicted,” Nadler said.

Nadler isn’t the only Democrat upset over Boehner bypassing the White House.

Politico reported that three prominent House Democrats wrote a letter to Boehner, urging him to postpone Netanyahu’s speech.

U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Maxine Waters of California charged that the speaker’s invitation to Netanyahu is “harmful” because it undermines the president’s foreign policy, puts an ally in the middle of a domestic political debate, and can be seen as the congress seeking to elevate a candidate (Netanyahu) in an election in a foreign country, Politico reported.

In an interview with Fox News, Boehner defended his invitation to Netanyahu, saying that it is important for members of congress to hear from the Israeli prime minister.

Nadler, meanwhile, said that while he disapproved of the way the invitation was extended, he had no problem with Netanyahu coming to congress to speak.

“The prime minister of Israel, our key strategic ally and friend in the Middle East, is always welcome in the United States,” he said.

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