Peres as PM Met US President Month Before Elections

January 23, 2015  

Leftist sources in Israel have decried Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation extended by the US Congress and changing the date to two weeks before March 17 elections; likewise US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet Netanyahu, claiming a policy of not meeting foreign leaders close to elections.

However, just 19 years ago then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited the US to meet then-President Bill Clinton – a mere month before elections.

Peres’s visit at the time came on the background of his government’s inability to stop Arab terrorism, and Netanyahu was the head of the opposition then, accusing Peres of “manipulating” his close relations with Clinton to help his chances in the elections.

And yet now, the left in Israel has harshly criticized Netanyahu’s planned March 3 address to the Congress, which he had rescheduled from February 9 so that he could also appear at the annual AIPAC conference.

In fact, Attorney Eldad Yaniv, number 30 on the Labor and Hatnua “Zionist Camp” joint list, went as far as filing a motion at the Central Elections Committee demanding that the speech not be carried by the television networks, since it will be “obviously” be used by Netanyahu for election propaganda.

The hypocrisy has not been lost on some, who point out that Peres as the head of the leftist camp did exactly the same thing 19 years ago with full impunity.

“With all due respect, I want to say to Mr. Peres…foreigners will not determine the results of elections in Israel, not the American administration, the King of Morocco, or Yasser Arafat,” said Netanyahu to Peres at the time.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid responded to the upcoming address on Thursday, saying that Republican congressional leaders did not consult him on inviting Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress – he added that he would welcome the speech.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats, was less gracious, calling Republican Speaker John Boehner’s invitation of Netanyahu “inappropriate.”

And the White House, after giving an icy response to the planned address as a “departure from protocol,” said Obama and Kerry would not meet Netanyahu “because of the proximity to the Israeli election,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan‏.

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