(Photo: shutterstock) (Photo: shutterstock)

Are some US lawmakers seeking to repair ties with Prime Minister Netanyahu?

Two senior Democratic Senators reportedly invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a closed-door meeting during his upcoming visit to Washington, Reuters reports.

However, the invitation to meet with a number of Senate Democrats came with a warning that making US-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could bring serious consequences.

Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein extended the invitation in order “to maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress,” according to a letter to the Israeli leader on Monday, which was obtained by Reuters.

“This unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel, which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply,” the two senators wrote, referring to the political and diplomatic turmoil that Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the US has generated.

“It sacrifices deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan points – something that should never be done with Israeli security and which we fear could have lasting repercussions,” they said.

It is unclear what will be discussed and whether the senators intend to further chastise Netanyahu or to try repairing the situation.

The letter was sent on Monday evening. Officials at the Israeli Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters says.

‘Iran Not a Bipartisan Issue’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US Congressman Robert Pittenger. (Haim Zach/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US Congressman Robert Pittenger. (Haim Zach/Flash90)

Netanyahu was invited in January by House Speaker John Boehner to address a bi-partisan special Congress session on the Iranian nuclear threat scheduled for next month.

The invitation angered the White House and many Democrats, who claimed it was an attempt to undermine US President Barack Obama and his drive towards a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran.

A number of Democratic representatives threatened to boycott Netanyahu’s speech. Durbin and Feinstein have not indicated publicly whether or not they planned to attend the Israeli leader’s address, according to Reuters.

Netanyahu repeatedly stated that the Iranian threat is not a partisan issue. In his meeting with Congressmen Robert Pittenger (R-NC) and Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL) last week, the prime minister reaffirmed the importance of American support from both parties, noting: “The American-Israeli alliance is a powerful one. It’s based on common values, common interests. It’s a bipartisan relationship. We appreciate the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.”

“We have a great national interest in preventing Iran from acquiring the means to develop nuclear weapons. We believe this isn’t a partisan issue. It isn’t a Democratic issue; it’s not a Republican issue. It’s an Israeli issue. It’s an American issue. It’s a global issue,” Netanyahu stressed.

By: United with Israel Staff

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