Dems rebuke Obama administration for Israel criticism

A growing number of congressional Democrats are criticizing the Obama administration for reacting so strongly to Israel decision to announce new settlements while Joe Biden was visiting the country.

White House officials have called the announcement "insulting," and senior adviser David Axelrod said this weekend that it was "calculated" to undermine peace talks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently took Prime Minister Netenyahu to task for the timing of the announcement, which forced Biden to issue a statement condeming the decision just as he was between meetings with top Israeli officials.

But a number of Democrats think the White House has gone too far.

"The appropriate response was a shake of the head – not a temper tantrum," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Jewish Caucus, said in a statement today, "Israel is a sovereign nation and an ally, not a punching bag. Enough already.”

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) criticized the White House for making their response so public.

"The Administration, to the extent that it has disagreements with Israel on policy matters, should find way to do so in private and do what they can to defuse this situation," he said in a statement.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) criticized the administration for an "irresponsibly overreaction."

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said the response had been "disproportionate" and added that "we all have to take a step back."

And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said that while the timing of Israel's announcment was "regrettable, it must not cloud the most critical foreign policy issue facing both counties — Irans nuclear threat."