Obama Aide Says Relationship With Israel is "Deep and Abiding"

Denis McDonough (PHOTO CREDIT: Charles Dharapak, AP)

A top aide to President Obama declined to escalate tensions Sunday in the wake of the decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress without informing the White House.

“I’m not going to get hyperbolic or emotional about this,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said on NBC’s Meet The Press. “Our relationship with Israel is many faceted, deep and abiding. It’s focused on a shared series of threats, but also, on a shared series of values.”

McDonough delivered much the same message during a string of Sunday show interviews.

In a speech set for March 3, Netanyahu is expected to ask Congress to impose more sanctions on Iran, a step Obama opposes because he says it could kill negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu and Republicans who support the prime minister’s speech to Congress doubt that Iran will give up pursuing the means to make a nuclear weapon, and the negotiations have been a major source of tension between the Israeli leader and Obama.

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SOURCE: USA Today | David Jackson

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