National Security Advisor Susan Rice decried Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for accepting the invitation from Speaker John Boehner to address Congress, describing it as a partisan exercise that would damage the relationship that Israel has with the United States.
“On both sides there has now been injected a degree of partisan which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship,” she said in an interview with PBS anchor Charlie Rose last night.
Rice pointed out that the relationship with Israel had “always been bi-partisan.”
“When it becomes injected or infused with politics, that’s a problem,” she said.
Rice questioned Netanyahu’s decision to speak to Congress two weeks before his election, but said she would “not ascribe motives” to his decision.
The White House continues to defend President Obama’s decision not to meet with Netanyahu during his visit to the United States, suggesting that it would be inappropriate to meet with a political figure two weeks before an election.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reminded reporters yesterday that “there is no foreign leader with whom the President has spent more time than Prime Minister Netanyahu” calling it a “testament” to the special relationship with the two countries.
After the White House was notified of the Speaker Boehner’s invitation, the administration criticized it as a break in protocol.
“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is traveling there and that’s certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when we travel overseas,” Earnest said last month. “This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”