PM Netanyahu Hosts John Boehner Jerusalem

In veiled jab at Obama, House Speaker warns: 'You can’t continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face all of us.'

Ari Soffer ,

Binyamin Netanyahu hosts John Boehner in Jerusalem
Binyamin Netanyahu hosts John Boehner in Jerusalem
Alex Kolomoisky/POOL

One month since his controversial address to the US Congress, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hosted the man who invited him to speak - Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) - at his Jerusalem office Wednesday.

Netanyahu began by thanking Boehner and other members of Congress "from both sides of the aisle for the warm welcome you gave me in the US Capitol."

"Today it's my great pleasure to welcome you and your delegation to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people for three thousand years," he began.

Netanyahu took the opportunity to emphasize the strong relations between Washington and Jerusalem, despite the ongoing tension between his administration and the White House in particular over Iran's nuclear program.

The visit, said the prime minister, "is testament to the historic and enduring bind that unites our two nations, our two democracies."

"This is a bond that is founded on our common values, our shared commitment to liberty and equal rights for all. And this alliance of values is cemented by our common interests." he continued, echoing comments he made in Congress on March 3.

Those shared interests and values, he insisted, "are clearer than ever" in light of the chaos, tyranny and extremism gripping Israel's immediate neighborhood.

"The Middle East is plagued by anti-Western, anti-democratic and anti-American extremism," he said. "Terrorists brutally behead their shackled captives before video cameras. Despots lead their people in chants of 'Death to America' while building intercontinental ballistic missiles to reach America.

"In this violent and unstable region, where states are imploding and fanaticism is exploding, one thing remains rock solid: Our friendship, our alliance, our partnership.

"It makes both our countries stronger. It makes both our countries safer. And it's the anchor for our shared hopes for peace and stability in this region.

"So let me use this opportunity of your visit to reiterate something that I've said before but needs to be said again and again: The people of Israel know that we have no better friend in the world than the United States of America. And the American people should know that they have no better friend in the world than the State of Israel."

After agreeing that Israel-US ties are "as strong as ever," in a nod to Netanyahu's recent consistent warnings over Iran's growing aggression in the Middle East, Boehner noted that as well as shared interests and values, the US, Israel and other regional allies also face mutual threats.

"Our delegation has spent the last five days throughout the Middle East. And regardless of where in the Middle East we’ve been, the message has been the same. You can’t continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face all of us," Boehner said.

Those comments may have been meant as a veiled criticism of the White House's approach to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program - an approach which Boehner has repeatedly criticized as too soft on the Islamic Republic.

Earlier today Netanyahu struck a similar tone, accusing world leaders of ignoring Iran's belligerence, including a recent call by a top Iranian general that "wiping Israel off the map is non-negotiable" for the regime.

"Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared and I quote: 'Israel's destruction is non-negotiable', but evidently giving Iran's murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable," Netanyahu said of the comments by the Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi

"This is unconscionable," he declared.



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