Shortly after his speech to Congress, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate, pursuant to an invitation extended last week by Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harry Reid (D-NV).
Also attending the meeting were John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John McCain (R-AZ), Al Franken (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (D-TN).
At the start of the meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
"I do want to thank the leadership of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, both sides of the aisle, for inviting me here, giving me an opportunity to state Israel's concern about an issue that could be the most important issue of our times. I believe it is.
“I was very moved by the attention and the responses to the speech from both sides of the aisle, and it's very clear to me and it was clear in that hall to anyone who was there that the support for Israel is strongly bipartisan, that there is a very broad support of the American people and its representative for the Jewish state and I'm very, very grateful for that,” he added.
“Thank you, thank you."
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the senators that the two new items in his address to Congress were the need to enact more vigorous restrictions in the agreement being formulated and thus lengthen the time it will take for Iran to break through to nuclear weapons. Also, in the agreement being formulated these restrictions must not be lifted automatically within a decade but only after Iran will have fulfilled three conditions: Stopping its support for global terrorism, stopping its aggression against its neighbors and stopping to threaten Israel's annihilation.
Despite Netanyahu's outline of a plan of action, President Barack Obama responded to the speech by maligning it as "theater," and claiming Netanyahu hadn't presented an alternative to the Iran nuclear deal being formed.
Several Democrat lawmakers were not pleased with the speech either, and accused the Israeli prime minister of fear-mongering.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), however, welcomed the speech, and said afterward that the world should thank Netanyahu for unveiling the facts about the Iran nuclear deal being formed ahead of a March 31 deadline.
"Why did President (Barack) Obama fear this speech?” asked Hikind, referring to Obama's harsh criticism and refusal to even meet Netanyahu during his visit. “The speech is over and nothing catastrophic occurred. The world is still standing. Clearly, it’s not speeches from our allies that we should fear. The onslaught against Netanyahu over the last two months has been unnecessary.”