The White House is threatening the U.S. relationship with Israel, sending a clear signal that rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week will harm ties.
This is the first time I have ever heard this or any White House suggest it is ready to do damage to the relationship with our only reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.
Appearing on the Charlie Rose show, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” because it makes the ties less bipartisan. When the relationship “becomes injected or infused with politics, that’s a problem,” Rice said.
The comments are hardly some kind of objective, disinterested analysis. The suggestion that relations will suffer is being made by the most senior foreign policy official in a White House that is deeply opposed to and deeply offended by Netanyahu’s visit. It will be taken as a sign in Israel – as the White House fully understands – that America’s relations with the Jewish state will be downgraded because Netanyahu is being perceived as tilting toward Republicans.
Further, Rice accused Netanyahu of coming to America – and by extension dissing President Obama – to achieve his own political objectives:
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 unfortunately which is not only unfortunate. I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.
Rice avowed that she wants a good relationship with Israel, but only in the context of implying that current circumstances place this in jeopardy:
We want the relationship between the Untied States and Israel to be unquestionably strong, immutable, regardless of political seasons in either country, regardless of which party may be in charge in either country.
The fact is, the ties between Israel and the United States had already completely deteriorated under Obama, as the president tried to strong arm Israel into a deal with the Palestinians, allowed Islamism to run rampant in the Middle East, and gets ready to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
Netanyahu clearly has made the calculation that he has nothing left to lose in trying to persuade Congress and the American people to oppose a dangerous deal with Iran that poses an existential threat to his country and, ultimately, ours.