A senior Israeli official is now implying that House Speaker John Boehner led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to believe that his invitation for the prime minister to speak before Congress in March was bipartisan, according to Reuters.
“It appears that the speaker of Congress made a move, in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one-sided move and not a move by both sides,” Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Friday on a Tel Aviv radio program, per the news outlet.
Then, via Reuters:
The interviewer asked if that meant Netanyahu had been “misled” into believing Boehner’s invitation was bipartisan, a characterization Hanegbi did not contest.
Boehner’s invitation for Netanyahu to speak on Iran, extended without consultation with the White House, has stirred partisan tensions. The White House called it a breach of diplomatic protocol. House Democrats have met with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to register their displeasure, and some have said they will boycott the speech.
Nonetheless, Hanegbi indicated that Netanyahu would still make the March 3 speech, which also comes two weeks before Israeli elections. He said that the speech could still help secure the two-thirds vote needed to override President Obama’s promised veto on any new sanctions on Iran.
“The Republicans know, as the president has already made clear, that he will veto this legislation. So in order to pass legislation that overcomes the veto, two-thirds are required in the Senate,” Hanegbi said. “So if the prime minister can persuade another one or two or another three or four, this could have weight.”
Boehner’s office didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.