Republican: Obama Doesn't Support Israel Enough

Senator Marco Rubio says Obama wants a deal with Iran to be the hallmark of his second term.

Elad Benari ,

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio

Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Friday criticized President Barack Obama's attitude towards Israel, telling activists that the President is pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran as the hallmark of his second term.

"It is a foreign policy that treats the ayatollah of Iran with more respect than the prime minister of Israel," Rubio, a Senator from Florida, said at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Rubio added that Obama's foreign policy has left the United States weaker than when he took office and that he is not sufficiently supportive of U.S. ally Israel, which strongly opposes the talks with Iran and its leaders.

Republicans and some Democrats have been critical of Obama’s push for talks with Iran. In his remarks, Rubio said talks with Iran are “foolish” and said the U.S. should side with Israel in opposing Iran's nuclear program.

The next president, he said according to AP, should have one message to communicate to the world, "It is bad to be our enemy and good to be our friend."

Rubio’s remarks came as Iran and the six world powers continue talks with Iran, aiming to turn an interim deal reached in 2013 into a permanent one.

The talks have stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed, with a third one looming on July 1 and an initial deal needing to be worked out by March 31.

Rubio’s criticism also come amid a rift between Democrats and Republicans over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this week, in which he will warn against the deal being worked out with Iran.

The invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress was extended by the Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who did so without  consulting the White House or the Democrats, and later explained he felt it was important to do an end-run around White House "interference".

Democrats were outraged, with Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy saying he would not attend the speech and accusing Republican leaders in the House of Representatives of "unilaterally" arranging and politicizing Netanyahu's planned address.

Other lawmakers threatened to boycott the speech as well. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said there would be no organized "boycott" of Netanyahu's speech, but she suggested some lawmakers might “be too busy to attend”.