One Good Snub Deserves Another

No doubt smarting from the refusal of President Obama and top administration officials to meet with him when he comes to Washington next week to speak to the Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu turned down an invitation to meet with top Senate Democrats.

Incredibly, Netanyahu, who is coming as a guest of the Republican congressional leadership, said meeting with Democrats would appear partisan.

So Netanyahu decided to dance with those who brung him. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, a longtime Republican operative before making aliyah, concealed the invitation and Netanyahu's acceptance from the administration until it was set, an unprecedented breech of protocol that left the White House fuming.

The PM has a long history of meddling in partisan American politics, most notably his virtual endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.  He once told an interviewer, "I speak Republican."

So when he was invited by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Diane Feinstein (D-California) to a closed door meeting with Senate Democrats, he turned them down, unbelievably suggesting such a meeting would appear partisan.

"Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe that doing so at this time could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit," he wrote to Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Diane Feinstein (D-California).

Durban's response to the PM's rejection:

"We offered the Prime Minister an opportunity to balance the politically divisive invitation from Speaker Boehner with a private meeting with Democrats who are committed to keeping the bipartisan support of Israel strong. His refusal to meet is disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades."

Durbin and Feinstein had written to Netanyahu that they had invited him "to maintain Israel's dialog with both political parties in Congress."  The Republican leadership's "unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel – which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply."

It apparently doesn't trouble Netanyahu. He appears to be telling them that now that his Republican friends control both the House and Senate he doesn't need the Democrats any longer.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.