By Molly K. Hooper - 03/06/12 06:12 PM EST
Top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders affirmed U.S. solidarity with Israel on Tuesday amid growing concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.
Following a meeting of key House leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “the United States Congress will never allow Israel to stand alone.”
Netanyahu said that his time on Capitol Hill clarified the United States’s steadfast support of Israel’s right to defend itself.
“This remarkable display of solidarity in the Congress of the United States — it’s bipartisan, it cuts across the Senate into the House — there have been wonderful expressions of support that you’ve just heard,” Netanyahu said at the Tuesday press conference.
“As we face the challenges that confront our world, the world of the United States and Israel … require three qualities to address them successfully: clarity, courage and wisdom,” Netanyahu said, adding that Congress consistently met those qualities.
The Israeli prime minister’s visit with the House leaders capped a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., in which he met with President Obama for several hours and addressed the annual policy conference of the pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
On Monday, prior to his lengthy meeting with Obama, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s right to take military action in defense against a potentially nuclear-armed Iran.
Though Obama left open the possibility of taking military action to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, he reiterated the need to let sanctions against Tehran take hold, and cautioned against “loose talk of war.”
A handful of high-profile GOP defense hawks addressed AIPAC, asserting the need for the United States to take military action if Iran opts to move forward with a weapons program.