President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are both refusing to meet with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu during his upcoming visit. Nominally this is because the Israeli election is so close, but it seems to actually reflect growing anger over Netanyahu’s lobbying to Congress.
Officials revealed that on Monday, President Obama warned Netanyahu explicitly to stop pushing Congress for new sanctions against Iran. On Wednesday, Netanyahu announced his intention to give a speech to a joint session of Congress to do exactly that.
It’s unsurprising that the administration sees this as him having “spat in our face,” with the invite to shill for the sanctions coming from House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) after Obama’s State of the Union speech and after Mossad was said to have warned Congress against the sanctions.
Congressional hawks are hoping Netanyahu’s visit will get them the support they need to override a promised presidential veto. and with most agreeing the sanctions would kill diplomacy with Iran that the president his invested over a year in, that visit is extremely unwelcome.