NEW YORK (JTA) — The National Iranian American Council took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times slamming the planned speech to Congress by Israel’s prime minister.
“Will Congress side with our president or a foreign leader?” reads the ad in Thursday’s edition. “President Obama is on the verge of a diplomatic victory that will prevent war and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. But Congressional hawks are bringing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Capitol Hill to push for new sanctions that could kill the talks and start a war.”
In the ad, a figure identified as House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner fills out a mock multiple-choice quiz, choosing Benjamin Netanyahu over Obama on the question “Who is our Commander in Chief?”
The ad’s publication comes amid reports that the White House has been keeping Jerusalem in the dark about certain details of U.S.-Iranian negotiations in order to avoid giving the Israelis fodder with which to inveigh against a potential nuclear deal.
“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “We see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”
Netanyahu has warned against the perils of dealmaking with Iran and plans to visit Washington to make his argument in a speech to Congress on March 3, two weeks before Israeli elections. The speech has been the subject of much controversy. It was planned by Netanyahu administration officials and Boehner without the White House’s knowledge, and Obama was informed about it only hours before it was publicly announced.
Several prominent Democrats have announced that they will not attend the speech, Obama has said he will not meet with Netanyahu during his visit because of the proximity to Israeli elections, and some prominent American Jews and Jewish groups have urged the prime minister to cancel. In Israel, Netanyahu has come under fire for what critics say is his antagonizing of the U.S. administration.