Netanyahu invite ignites US spat

Many in diplomatic community say Republicans' invitation to Israeli PM to address US Congress is scandalous and stupid.

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    The latest spat between Republicans and US President Barack Obama over a controversial invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has some people in Washington’s diplomatic community using less than diplomatic language.

    This week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House.

    This is an unusual move since the invitation to a head of state would normally come from the White House. Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, called it a "departure from protocol".

    Netanyahu is in an election race and eager to show voters he has support within the US while Republicans need his help to sink a deal lifting sanctions on Iran. After the initial outcry, Israel announced the Prime Minister would come in March so that Mr. Netanyahu could include an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    He will not meet President Obama because the White House says it's too close to the Israeli election and they don’t want to favour any one candidate.

    Regardless, many people in the diplomatic community were unhappy, telling DC Dispatches the invitation is "scandalous" and "stupid".

    Georgetown University Professor Anthony Arend, an expert in diplomacy, agreed, calling the initial invite "unwise".

    He added: "This invitation sends a message to the world that divisions between Congress and the President can easily be exploited by states and other non-state actors throughout the world."


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