House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE's (R-Ohio) post-State of the Union invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress in March on "the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life" clearly caught the White House unawares. On Air Force One, a peeved White House spokesperson, Josh Earnest, termed it "a breach of normal diplomatic protocol" and revealed that the Obama administration was only informed of the invitation hours before it was made public.

Although Boehner emphasized that the invitation to Netanyahu was not "poking anyone in the eye," he nevertheless made clear that Netanyahu's speech is designed to undermine the president's delicate negotiations with Iran on its nuclear capabilities and build support for an additional crippling round of sanctions on Iran to destroy that diplomacy. President Obama "expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran," Boehner thundered during a meeting of Republicans last Wednesday. "Two words: Hell no!"

Netanyahu is hardly a rube when it comes to the American political scene and is no unwitting pawn in Boehner's transparently partisan ploy. While most other foreign leaders would fastidiously steer well away from any perceived meddling in U.S. domestic politics, Netanyahu has repeatedly jumped into that fray with gusto, relishing the opportunity to poke at a president with whom he has a notoriously toxic personal relationship.

For example, in 2010, after incoming House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorEric Cantor offering advice to end ‘immigration wars’ Trump's olive branch differs from the golden eras of bipartisanship After divisive rally, Trump calls for unity MORE (R-Va.) emerged from a tête-à-tête with Netanyahu immediately prior to the Israeli prime minister meeting with then-Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE, Cantor pledged that the "new Republican majority will serve as a check on the administration," and "made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States." And Netanyahu's virtual cheerleading for the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential campaign caused a senior U.S. official to caution Israel that "Netanyahu is perceived as campaigning on behalf of Mitt Romney."

Netanyahu's partnership with the Republican Party to undercut the Obama administration's foreign policy agenda reflects much more than a personal squabble between the two heads of state, however. In recent years, Netanyahu's Likud Party has become increasingly dependent on Republican donors in the United States to bankroll its message and underwrite its electoral campaigns. Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who funneled nearly $100 million to conservative PACs in the 2012 electoral cycle in an attempt to defeat Obama, also distributes a free newspaper in Israel that serves as a virtual mouthpiece for Netanyahu's policies.

And for the past three Israeli elections, more than 90 percent of Netanyahu's campaign funds have come from the United States, often from conservative donors. "Thank you, rich Americans!" 27-year-old Likud activist Yonatan Benizri exclaimed during Netanyahu's recent campaign kickoff, according to BuzzFeed. "The rest of the parties are still scrambling and Netanyahu has a party." As Israel goes to the polls on March 17, Netanyahu's acceptance of Boehner's invitation to address Congress two weeks earlier not only will play well to his domestic audience as a sign that despite Israel's growing international isolation, Congress remains Israel's bulwark. It is also an acknowledgement by the canny prime minister that he knows where his bread is buttered.

This growing symbiosis between the Republican Party and Israel's government is also evidenced by the increasingly partisan nature of resolutions introduced in the new 114th Congress. As of last week, more than 90 percent of members of Congress supporting six anti-Palestinian resolutions — to cut off economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority for joining the International Criminal Court and to force the State Department to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — are Republicans. And the base of the Republican Party is also more likely to support Israel's policies toward Palestinians than grassroots Democrats. A CNN poll conducted last July found Republicans felt Israel justified in its attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip by a whopping margin of 73 to 19 percent, whereas Democrats were evenly split on the issue.

A more recent survey conducted by Shibley Telhami and Katayoun Kishi of the University of Maryland found a "wide gap" between the parties on U.S. relations toward Israel and the Palestinians: 51 percent of Republicans want the United States to favor Israel, but only 17 percent of Democrats feel the same. According to these researchers, this fissure could grow into a chasm in upcoming years as youth and Hispanic voters — constituencies more predisposed to support Palestinian rights — emerge as a budding component of the party's base.

This growing partisan divide over Israel has yet to translate into tangible policy change. In fact, despite Netanyahu throwing in his lot with the Republican Party, U.S. political, diplomatic and military support for Israel has only strengthened under the Obama administration. However, should Obama choose to retaliate against Netanyahu for attempting to derail his foreign policy agenda, there will be ample support within his party for such a move.

Ruebner is author of Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Policy Director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.