”I don’t think it’s necessary for the president to rearrange his schedule,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Hill. ”I didn’t think it was appropriate for the prime minister to publicly get into a dispute with the president of the United States, since we’re both very closely working together to impose sanctions and to force Iran to stop its development of a nuclear weapon.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, blamed ”internal Israeli politics” for the spat.
”Maybe Netanyahu’s for (Republican candidate Mitt) Romney. And he’s making a mistake if he is,” Frank told The Hill when asked why he thought Israel had leaked the news of a perceived ”snub” to the Reuters wire service.
”I think it was unwise for him to do as much,” he said. ”I think they’ve pulled back a little bit.”
”I think Obama played it right,” Frank added. ”The Israelis have to consider American public opinion; America’s not ready to go to war until it’s absolutely necessary.
”I think it’s a mistake from Israel’s standpoint if they give the impression they’re trying to push us into going to war. I don’t think any pressure’s going to work.”
And Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said both sides need to mend fences.
”There are always things that are done on both sides – with us, with the Israelis – for domestic political consumption, for party building,” Engel told The Hill. ”I think there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to, and I would hope that in any kind of public rift – or the appearance of any kind of public rift – between the president and the prime minister would be heeled and taken care of behind the scenes. I have confidence that both countries would like to see that.”