Despite the White House's cold response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader is welcome to give a speech at "any time" in the United States, top US diplomat John Kerry said Wednesday.
But he agreed it had been a "little unusual" to hear about the Israeli leader's address to the US Congress next month from the office of Speaker John Boehner and not via the usual diplomatic protocols, according to AFP.
While it was House speaker John Boehner who announced Netanyahu's invitation to speak, calling the prime minister "a friend," White House press secretary John Earnest responded coldly to the invite.
"We haven't heard from the Israelis directly about the trip at all," Earnest said. "The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is traveling there… So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol."
The White House added it would "reserve judgment" on any possible meeting between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu for now. The Obama administration, Earnest said, would want to hear about plans for the trip and Netanyahu's message "before we have a decision to make about any meeting."
House Speaker John Boehner insisted the invitation to Netanyahu was not designed to spite Obama, however.
"There needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran," said Boehner.