You could almost hear the smack across the bow of the Obama administration Wednesday morning as Speaker John Boehner invited Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on February 11, and Bibi has accepted.
Usually these things are scheduled along with an already scheduled foreign leader/POTUS meeting. This however was done without any corresponding Presidential meeting, or even a consultation with the White House or State Dept.
The invitation is meant to be a direct attack on President Obama's Iran policy according to Boehner's prepared remarks this morning to the House Republican conference.
You may have seen that on Friday, the president warned us not to move ahead with sanctions on Iran, a state sponsor of terror. His exact message to us was: 'Hold your fire.' He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: 'Hell no!' … we’re going to do no such thing. So today I will announce that I am inviting the Prime Minister of Israel, a great friend of this country, to address a joint meeting of Congress next month. And I am specifically asking him to address Congress on the threats posed by radical Islam and Iran. America and Israel have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again. Let’s send a clear message to the White House – and the world – about our commitment to Israel and our allies.The invitation for Netanyahu to speak to lawmakers on Feb. 11 comes hours after the President declared in his State of the Union address, he would veto any sanctions legislation.
In a press release announcing the invitation, Boehner was more statesmen-like than his words to the GOP caucus.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people. In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life. Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.
As many have pointed out, there's no proof Obama's action have in fact halted Iran's nuclear program. Indeed, the diplomacy has worried those who most fear the consequences of a nuclear breakout in Iran, including Netanyahu.”Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu said:
His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
3 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Jerusalem, Israel 91950
Dear Mr. Prime Minister: It is my honor, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, to extend to you an invitation to appear before and address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.
I thank you for your attention, and I look forward to your reply.Last week we learned that Iran was building two new nuclear plants “for peaceful purposes.” The Iranians always say they are building new nuclear infrastructure for peaceful means, but in actuality they use it as a pretext for expanding their nuclear stockpile. Indeed, The Xinhuanet News Agency (China) reported late last week that “Iran’s atomic chief said on Sunday that Iran must increase its uranium enrichment capacity to 30 tons per year to meet the fuel needs of its Bushehr nuclear power plant, according to Tasnim news agency.”
It seems impossible to reconcile the new construction and new enrichment capacity with what we were told at the beginning of the negotiations, the Iranian program was “frozen.” That is not only what the President told us, but also it is the Administration's big claim as it fights against new Congressional sanctions against Iran. Expect Bibi to address that on February 11th.
Netanyahu’s acceptance is a signal that he does not believe his relationship with Obama can be fixed. With his speech he will directly conflict with Obama’s policy—and on national TV. The President will not be pleased. But then again Netanyahu is worried about Iran getting nuclear arms, passing them to one of its satellite organizations such as Hezbollah, who will detonate the bomb and kill millions of Israelis. I am sure it didn't hurt that Netanyahu is running for reelection in March.
UPDATE: Obama is not happy--On Airforce One Josh Earnest said "the White House has not heard from Israelis about whether Benjamin Netanyahu plans to speak to Congress Feb. 11. Earnest says they are reserving judgment about the invitation until they've had a chance to speak to the Israelis about what Netanyahu might say.
Earnest says typical protocol is that a country's leader would contact the White House before planning to visit the United States. But Earnest says they didn't hear about Boehner's invitation until Wednesday morning, shortly before the speaker announced it publicly."