New York Times: Netanyahu speech to Congress will harm Israel-US bilateral relationship

Paper accuses Netanyahu and the Republicans of using appearance for political ends.

January 24, 2015 11:20
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance where he will address a special joint session of Congress on March 3, "is bound to further harm a bilateral relationship that has endured a lot of battering over the past six years," The New York Times editorial board wrote in its Saturday opinion piece. 

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner extended the invitation to Netanyahu on Wednesday and the Prime Minister's speech on Capitol Hill is expected to focus on the need for increased sanctions against Iran, as well as on Islamist extremism.

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The Times was critical of Boehner's invitation, which it said  was meant to to challenge President Obama’s approach to achieving a nuclear agreement with Iran," and called the move, "a breach of sense and diplomacy." 

The paper said invitations of foreign leaders are normally arranged by The White House and it accused Boehner of a "hostile attempt to lobby Congress to enact more sanctions against Iran, a measure that Mr. Obama has rightly threatened to veto."

The Times titled the piece 'Playing Politics on Iran,' and accused both Boehner's Republican party and Netanyahu alike of using the speech for political ends.

"Republicans apparently see value in trying to sabotage any possible success for Mr. Obama, even if it harms American interests."

As for Netanyahu, the editors wrote that ahead of Israel's March 17 election, the prime minister, "apparently believes that winning the applause of Congress by rebuking Mr. Obama will bolster his standing as a leader capable of keeping Israel safe."

"It’s hard to see how disrespecting an American president whom even he [Netanyahu] says has significantly advanced Israel’s security can benefit his country," the editors commented. 

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