GOP lawmaker: Summit is 'slap in face to Israel'

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), a former Navy SEAL Team Six commander and freshman in Congress, is slamming the Obama administration’s conference intended to counter violent extremism.

“I think it's a slap in the face to Israel,” Zinke, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday during an interview on FOX News’s “On the Record.”

Zinke also accused the administration of inviting “a terrorist sympathizer” to speak at the conference, referring to Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who said after 9/11 that Israel should be on the "suspect list" for the destruction of the World Trade Center.

He contrasted the invitation from the administration with House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE’s (R-Ohio) request that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address Congress.

“I think the contrast is clear. Israel has been our partner in the war on terrorism,” Zinke said. “And certainly, this is why our allies don't trust us, and our enemies no longer fear us.”

Boehner invited Netanyahu without consulting the White House, a breach in protocol, since foreign leaders are normally invited by the executive branch. Obama and other top administration officials are not meeting with the Israeli leader, who will be weeks away from elections when he arrives in Washington, and several Democratic lawmakers have decided to boycott the address.

For his part, Zinke said the administration should “talk about the real battle ahead” against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he said would require U.S. boots on the ground.

“And the footprint is going to be more than just a sprinkling of Special Forces,” Zinke said. “If you put our guys in harm's way, you better support them with the right equipment, the right rules of engagement, the right Medevac, the right quick-reaction force. So the footprint is going to be, you know, larger than this administration will concede.”

He also said the Armed Services panel would “no doubt” hold hearings on the ISIS-specific authorization for the use of military force the president submitted last week.

This story was updated at 2:23 p.m.