By Julian Pecquet - 09/20/12 03:25 PM EDT
House Republicans have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with them whenever he's in Washington.
The invitation sent Wednesday evening by the 165-member Republican Study Committee (RSC) comes after reports that President Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when both leaders are in New York for the opening of the United Nations' 67th session next week.
Israeli officials told Reuters that Netanyahu had asked for a one-on-one meeting with Obama to talk about Iran's nuclear weapons program, only to be rebuffed by the White House, which said the schedules of the two leaders wouldn't overlap.
“We would be honored if you would meet with RSC leaders during any forthcoming visit to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues of mutual concern and priorities for our two nations,” wrote RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Both parties are trying to boost their credentials as friends of Israel ahead of the November election. The new letter comes after 128 House Republicans — including Jordan — signed onto a letter last week urging Obama to meet with Netanyahu.
Relations between Netanyahu and the Obama administration have worsened in recent weeks as the Israeli leader has been warning that Iran is close to being able to produce a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu over the weekend urged the White House to issue red lines that Iran won't be allowed to cross.