Members of Congress are demanding that President Obama come clean about controversial reports that he is considering leveling sanctions on Israel, according to a letter sent Friday afternoon by lawmakers to the White House.
The Obama administration has found itself engulfed in controversy since reports emerged Thursday that the White House and State Department had met in secret to strategize about imposing sanctions on Israel for its continued building of houses in contested Jerusalem neighborhoods.
State Department and White House officials have continued to dodge questions from reporters on the matter, maintaining that they will neither confirm nor deny the reports.
The administration’s evasive position has prompted outrage among pro-Israel leaders and prompted Congress to demand that Obama start answering questions about the delicate issue. …
Congress, which traditionally has purview over such measures, has never given the White House permission to sanction Israel.
“At no point in time has Congress given the administration the authority to sanction Israel,” they wrote. “In fact, Congress has continued to show its unwavering support for Israel and has recently taken steps to increase our economic and military cooperation.”
As the White House leaves the door open to sanctions on Israel, it is lobbying Congress against leveling more sanctions on Iran.