Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined on Tuesday an invitation to meet with U.S. Senate Democrats during his trip to Washington next week.
“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,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein obtained by Reuters news agency.
Durbin and Feinstein, two senior Senate Democrats, invited Netanyahu to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators in a letter on Monday, warning that making U.S.-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have “lasting repercussions.”
Republican congressional leaders broke diplomatic protocol by consulting neither the White House nor Democrats in Congress before inviting Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate.
In his letter, Netanyahu said he agreed “wholeheartedly” that strong ties between the U.S. and Israel have been built on bipartisan support.
“I also fully understand the importance of bipartisan support for ensuring that our alliance remains strong in the future,” he wrote.
He expressed appreciation for the opportunity to address lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday and said he regretted that the invitation has been perceived by some as partisan… see more