The Anti-Defamation League said it was shocked at the Obama administration's "public dressing down" of Israel over its decision during Vice President Joe Biden's weeklong visit to move forward with the construction of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem.

The ADL took issue with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley saying the move "undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America's interests." Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to express the administration's displeasure, and the rebuke continued today in an interview with Andrea Mitchell in which Clinton called Israel's actions "insulting."

On Tuesday, Biden had issued a statement saying "the substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel."


"We are shocked and stunned at the Administration's tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem," ADL director Abraham Foxman said in a statement. "We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States. One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table."

Foxman continued:

"It is especially troubling that this harsh statement came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly and privately explained to Vice President BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE the bureaucratic nature in making the announcement of proposed new building in Jerusalem, and Biden accepted the prime minister's apology for it. Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends.

"The Administration should have confidence and trust in Israel whose tireless pursuit for peace is repeatedly rebuffed by the Palestinians and whose interests remain in line with the United States."

J Street, however, took the administration's side. "Israel’s recent announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem wasn't just a slap in the face to Vice President Joe Biden," the group said in a call for petitions demanding "stronger American leadership" to arrive at a two-state solution. " It was a wake-up call to us all that business-as-usual peace processing is bringing us no closer to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The spat between the two countries moves to U.S. soil in a little more than a week, when Netanyahu and Clinton will both address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference in Washington.