Schumer Stands Behind Netanyahu Invite Despite ‘Profound Disagreements’

The invitation was extended a few months after Mr. Schumer decried Mr. Netanyahu’s handling of the Israel–Hamas war and called for new elections in Israel.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained his support behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s addressing a joint session of Congress on July 24.

“I have clear and profound disagreements with the Prime Minister, which I have voiced both privately and publicly and will continue to do so,” Mr. Schumer said in a June 6 statement.

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

The invitation was extended a few months after Mr. Schumer criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s handling of the Israel–Hamas war and called for new elections in Israel.

The Senate majority leader said he will focus on progress toward a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Mr. Netanyahu’s upcoming address on June 6.

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Israel has been fighting Hamas in Gaza since the terrorist group attacked the Jewish state on Oct. 7, 2023, resulting in the largest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

President Joe Biden recently announced a proposal that he said Israel put forth that would eventually end the war in three stages. However, Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel’s objective to annihilate Hamas has not changed and that there will be no permanent ceasefire unless that happens.

On May 31, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Johnson, Mr. McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) sent Mr. Netanyahu a letter inviting him to address Congress.

“We join the State of Israel in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive and its leaders jeopardize regional stability,” they wrote.

This comes amid tensions between Mr. Netanyahu and President Biden, as well as other U.S. lawmakers, over the war—more recently over Israel’s planned full-scale military operation in the Gazan city of Rafah.

President Biden has halted the shipment of some types of bombs to Israel, citing fears that the Jewish state could use them in a full-scale military operation in Rafah—which the administration opposes.

Some members of Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have said they won’t attend the speech.

“I probably would not go,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) without elaborating.

Other lawmakers have said they look forward to hearing from Mr. Netanyahu.

“Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, is under attack. We must support their right to defend themselves from Iran-backed terrorists. Looking forward to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address next month,” posted Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on X.
“We look forward to hearing the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” Mr. Johnson posted on X.

The last time Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress was in 2015, when he warned against the impending U.S.–Iran nuclear deal. He said the United States and allies gave Tehran sanctions relief via the deal while not adequately addressing its nuclear program and not dealing with Iran’s other activities, such as its support for terrorism.

The upcoming speech will be the fourth time Mr. Netanyahu will address Congress, breaking the record held by the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Last year, Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed a joint session of Congress in commemoration of Israel’s 75th birthday. That speech was boycotted by 58 Democrats.

Stacy Robinson and Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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