Obama Won't Meet With Netanyahu During Visit
White House says it's too close to Israeli elections
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2015 1:25 PM CST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Obama speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office Oct. 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – In a not-so-shocking development, the White House said today that President Obama won't meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli leader visits in March to address Congress, reports NPR. A spokesperson offered a diplomatic reason, citing the Israeli elections that take place just two weeks after the March 3 address: "As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections." Given the tensions already present with Netanyahu's surprise trip—the White House previously labeled it a breach of protocol—it's a safe bet something else might have come up to scuttle a meeting.

John Boehner invited to Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House, and the Israeli leader is expected to challenge Obama's foreign policy views, especially on Iran. As the New York Times put it, "in the perennial argument over whether Mr. Obama’s approach to the world is wise or weak, Mr. Netanyahu essentially represents the 'weak' case." Nancy Pelosi today weighed in on the invite, accusing Boehner of "hubris" for the move, reports the Washington Post.