MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely GOP presidential candidate, expressed severe worry Monday about U.S.-Israeli relations in a commentary piece that sounds stronger fears about “ruptured bonds” than even the country’s prime minister.
Walker’s opinion piece in the National Review Online that described the bond with Israel at “perhaps the most serious crisis in our history.” It’s Walker’s latest effort to show proficiency on foreign policy as he moves toward his White House bid. He plans to travel to Israel later this year and has been courting the backing of a billionaire casino mogul who is a staunch supporter of Israel.
In his commentary, Walker blames President Barack Obama’s administration over the way it has conducted nuclear negotiations with Iran and for not being more welcoming to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Washington.
“Stop the pettiness,” Walker wrote. “We must repair the ruptured bonds between our two countries.”
That message contrasted with one from Netanyahu, who told a pro-Israeli group in Washington on Monday that “reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relationship are not just premature, they are just wrong.”
In that same speech, however, Netanyahu said he won’t hesitate to speak vigorously about U.S. talks with Iran over its nuclear capability because the Israeli people are concerned about how it would affect their own security in the unstable Middle East.
Walker’s piece in the conservative publication accuses Obama’s administration of dealing too readily with Iran on a nuclear pact over Israeli objections.
“If the president continues to call into doubt our friendship with Israel while seeking rapprochement with Iran, he will harm more than just the U.S.-Israeli relationship,” Walker wrote in the conservative publication.
The timing of Netanyahu’s visit and the decision of Republicans to invite him to address a joint session of Congress have caused friction in Washington because some fear it gives the prime minister too big of a platform as he seeks re-election on March 17.
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