Netanyahu to address Congress on July 24

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address Congress on July 24, a person familiar with the plans, granted anonymity to discuss the matter, confirmed to POLITICO.

The speech comes after the four top congressional leaders — Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — formally issued the long-awaited invite late last month.

Locking down the July 24 date caps off weeks of behind-the-scenes talks on Capitol Hill, where the exact date had remained in flux even after leadership formally issued the invitation to Netanyahu last week. They initially looked at June 13 but that conflicted with a Jewish holiday and Johnson’s office stressed at the time that the date was not finalized and still being negotiated.

McConnell and Johnson subsequently confirmed the July 24 date for the speech in a formal joint announcement on Thursday night.

Netanyahu’s speech on July 24 comes as a growing number of congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have become increasingly critical of Israel’s handling of the war against Hamas — namely the high toll of civilian deaths.

Progressives have also publicly called on President Joe Biden to take a firmer stance. Some in Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have said they will skip Netanyahu’s speech next month, while other top Democrats have suggested they wouldn’t have issued the invitation.

In a statement on Thursday night, Schumer said that “I have clear and profound disagreements with the Prime Minister, which I have voiced both privately and publicly and will continue to do so.”

“But because America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister I joined the request for him to speak,” he added.

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