Netanyahu Loses in Congress
In April, Ha’aretz’s Aluf Benn reported that the Obama administration was preparing sympathetic members of Congress for the prospect of a Hill-based effort by the Netanyahu government to soften Obama’s positions on Mideast peace. I wondered whether that was an overblown report, and now I owe Benn an apology. Via Josh Marshall, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got an icy reception on the Hill when he tried, as Benn anticipated, to convert key members away from Obama’s opposition to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank:
But when Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu came to Capitol Hill for a May 18 meeting after being pressed by President Obama to freeze the expansion of West Bank settlements, he was “stunned,” Netanyahu aides said, to hear what seemed like a well-coordinated attack against his stand on settlements. The criticism came from congressional leaders, key lawmakers dealing with foreign relations and even from a group of Jewish members…
In their meetings, according to the congressional aide, lawmakers rejected Netanyahu’s call for Palestinian reciprocity on terrorism as a precondition and kept pressing him on the need to stop building in settlements.
Also significant, American Jewish organizations aren’t in the mood to fight Netanyahu’s battle on this front.
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