After Israel Flap, White House Takes Criticism from GOP Hopefuls

David Axelrod called it an "insult"; Benjamin Netanyahu apologized.

But the White House is being blamed for this month's flap with Israel by two potential Republican White House contenders: Sarah Palin and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.

Palin called the flap--which was caused by an announcement of settlement construction hours after Vice President arrived in Israel last week--a "manufactured controversy" in a post on her Facebook wall on Tuesday.

"In the midst of all this embracing of enemies, where does the Obama Administration choose to escalate a minor incident into a major diplomatic confrontation?" Palin wrote.

Cantor, a back-bench contender for the 2012 GOP nomination who has risen to prominence in the House, asked White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to "pull back and lower the volume" on Israel in a telephone call this week, asserting that playing "hardball" with Israel "jeopardizes our national security," as Politico's Jonathan Allen reported. Cantor is the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress and the only Jewish Republican in the House.

Tim Pawlenty, meanwhile, has not said anything publicly about the flap, but he is slated to address the American Israel Public Affairs Conference this Sunday night. Since AIPAC has defended Israel through the controversy and criticized the Obama administration, it may be difficult to contradict that stance at the AIPAC conference.