(JTA) – Some Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives called on President Barack Obama to tamp down the rhetoric against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
The Congress members issued the demand last week at a meeting with deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, Politico reported Sunday. The meeting was the latest in a series of regular briefings that Rhodes has been holding with Jewish members of Congress about the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Among the lawmakers at the meeting were Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida; Jerry Nadler and Nita Lowey of New York; Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman of California; Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; and Sander Levin of Michigan.
Rhodes declined comment to Politico on the meeting but reportedly left agreeing to relay the lawmakers’ message on the rhetoric.
The House members told Rhodes that they are as upset as the Obama administration about remarks Netanyahu made in the hours before Israelis went to the polls earlier this month in which he ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state, but that Obama needed to stop harping on the issue, Politico reported.
“Obama and his aides, they said, had to stop acting as if the Israeli prime minister’s comments are the only thing holding up a peace process that’s been abandoned for a year while not expressing a word of disappointment about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – and openly toying with allowing the Palestinians their provocative recognition bid at the United Nations. The swipes at Netanyahu felt vindictive and gratuitous,” according to Politico.
Obama and his aides believe it is now up to Netanyahu to repair a rift that they stress is only about the peace process, not the larger commitment to Israel, according to Politico.
“We’ve made our point. The message has clearly been received,” a White House official told Politico. “The next move is theirs, presumably after the new government has been formed.”