US Says Netanyahu will Pay ‘Price’ for Upcoming Visit; Obama and Kerry Refuse to Meet Israeli PM

The Obama-Netanyahu relationship is moving from bad to worse after a senior US official accused Israel’s Prime Minister of “spitting in the face” of President Obama, saying there “will be a price” for Netanyahu’s upcoming visit and address to the US Congress.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that a senior US official spoke angrily about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s behavior towards US President Obama.

It seems that Netanyahu’s upcoming US visit in March, including his acceptance of an invitation to address the US Congress, has angered the Obama administration and brought the Netanyahu-Obama relationship to a new low.

US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress without informing the Obama administration.

Haaretz reported that a senior Obama official said the US administration “thought we’ve seen everything, but Bibi managed to surprise even us.”

Netanyahu“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

Israel and the US are at odds about how to deal with the Iranian nuclear negotiations vs. sanctions issue. President Obama insists that Netanyahu should not attempt to pressure the US to impose additional sanctions against Iran, as this would jeopardize progress made thus far in the negotiations.

The Iranian nuclear issue is expected to be Netanyahu’s main topic in his upcoming address to the US Congress.

The White House was livid that Netanyahu’s visit was not coordinated with them in advance, which was a “breach of protocol.”

Obama and Kerry will not Meet Netanyahu; Kerry Warns Relationship is Threatened

Netanyahu’s upcoming trip was reportedly changed from February 11 to March 3 in order to enable the Prime Minister to attend the AIPAC Conference in March. The US then decided that Obama, Biden and Kerry would not meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, since this is consistent with US policy not to meet with foreign leaders on dates that are “close to” national elections.

kerry and zarif

John Kerry with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

It is interesting to note that in 1996, one month before Israeli elections, US President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres during his trip to the United States.

The Washington Post reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry said that although the relationship between the US and Israel “is unshakable”, when Israel starts “playing politics”, it can “blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”

Obama officials reportedly said that the language used in reference to Netanyahu, after the White House learned of Netanyahu’s planned visit, was far worse than the “chickens**t” vulgarity used to insult Israel’s Prime Minister back in October.