McConnell Welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington:

“I’d like to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to Washington, D.C.

“Today’s visit between President Obama and the Prime Minister was the first time the leaders of our two countries have met in over a year. It was also their first time meeting since President Obama concluded his deal with Iran.

“We know that that deal is likely to entrench Iran’s nuclear threshold capabilities while helping subsidize terrorist groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction, like Hezbollah and Hamas. We know that the President’s deal does not even require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“So I’m sure these leaders had much to discuss.

“I’m sure they engaged in a frank discussion.

“But a relationship based on frank exchanges of views — a relationship centered on substance, rather than just personalities — is important for both of our countries. It’s healthy.

“That’s certainly true when we hear Iran’s Supreme Leader reiterating calls for Israel’s destruction. That’s certainly true when we hear him saying change will never happen as he continues to rail against our own country.

“So it’s good that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama had a chance to meet today.

“It’s good that the Prime Minister will have an opportunity to visit the Capitol again tomorrow too.

“We appreciated his last visit very much. It was important to hear the perspective of a leader for whom threats from countries like Iran and terrorist groups like ISIL and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are hardly just theoretical.

“That was made clear when I led a congressional delegation to the Middle East last month that included Congressman Barr and Senators from Arkansas, South Dakota, and Iowa. We met with leaders in Jordan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And in Israel, we had a chance to visit with the Prime Minister. It was productive. It was eye-opening. And it underlined a key point.

“Israel’s Prime Minister is a great friend of the United States. The bonds between our nations are strong. And I hope we can all find ways to strengthen them further, because the threats facing both of our countries are real and they are worrying.”

Related Issues: Israel, ISIL, Iran