Netanyahu’s detractors and even some supporters are expressing concern that he may have overplayed his hand by going before Congress to oppose President Barack Obama’s Iran policy without consulting the White House.
READ: Why Netanyahu is confronting the White House
The controversy surrounding the address, they warn, may have overshadowed the message and turned potentially friendly Democrats toward the position of their president, who wants to see the deal with Iran go through and opposes further sanctions at this point.
Negotiators have until the end of the month to lay out the political framework of a deal. But a group of 10 pro-Israel Senate Democrats have said they’d be willing to consider joining with Republicans to pass new sanctions on Iran after March 24, giving the GOP a near veto-proof number of votes in favor of the measure.
Netanyahu’s address could make or break the three remaining Democratic votes needed to override a certain presidential veto on new sanctions. Allies of the prime minister say that he felt a sense of urgency on the issue that made him willing to risk a break with the White House, which had recently asked him not to publicly lobby against the deal.
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
Whether or not the speech helps advance Netanyahu’s position on Iran, its fallout could continue far beyond the March deadline.
Dan Arbell, a former Israeli diplomat and a Brookings fellow, said in the wake of the controversy surrounding the speech, he believes Netanyahu may find “zero tolerance for his requests” at the White House and predicted a long-term negative impact on Netanyahu’s diplomatic efforts should he retain office after the March 17 vote.
“This is a basic issue of trust, and how do you go from here?” Arbell wondered. “How can you actually work together in such a situation where you clearly challenge the president of the United States?”