WASHINGTON — Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Monday that his controversial plans to address Congress are not aimed at disrespecting President Barack Obama, even as he blasted the U.S. leader’s bid for a nuclear deal with Iran as a threat to Israel’s survival.
“I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them,” Netanyahu said during an address to a pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
As Netanyahu spoke, Secretary of State John Kerry was opening a new round of talks with Iran aimed at reaching a framework nuclear deal ahead of a late-March deadline.
Netanyahu’s visit to Washington has exposed deep tensions with the White House. The centerpiece of his trip is an address to Congress Tuesday that was orchestrated with congressional Republicans and without the knowledge of the Obama administration.
Still, Netanyahu insisted that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel remains strong.
“Reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relationship is not only premature, they’re just wrong,” Netanyahu said during remarks at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “Our alliance is stronger than ever.”
Story compiled with information from AP reports.