(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey told The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday that House Speaker John Boehner was wrong to "inject partisanship into the US-Israel relationship" by inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress without notifying the administration.
The New York Democrat told the assembled audience at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan that she has sought to play peacemaker between the Israeli government and the Obama administration, particularly in light of Netanyahu’s controversial Election Day remarks about Arabs "descending on the voting booths in droves."
"I have...worked so hard in the difficult months leading up to and following the Israeli elections to urge the Obama Administration and Prime Minister Netanyahu to tone down overheated rhetoric and restore the focus on what matters – our shared objectives to protect Israel’s and our own national security interests," Lowey said.
"Allowing personalities or political gamesmanship to get in the way of this singular focus is a disservice to the interests of both countries," she said.
Lowey expressed support for the Obama administration's efforts to clinch a nuclear deal with Iran, though she sought to reassure skeptics that lawmakers would vigorously vet any agreement to ensure that it include provisions for unfettered inspections and rigorous supervision of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
"With 23 days until the deadline to reach a final deal on Iran, I support diplomatic efforts and sincerely want them to succeed," she said. "Yet the sides seem far apart. Iran’s leaders are still publicly refusing to grant inspectors access to military sites and making other troubling, obstinate statements."
"I continue to press the Administration on very specific deal-breakers and elements that must be included in any long-term deal," she said. "Given Iran’s history of deception and continued illicit behavior in the region, Iran must be tried and tested in every category of the deal before we even consider filling their coffers with sanctions relief."