Netanyahu Accepts Congress Invitation to Speak Despite Backlash

( – On June 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation to speak at a joint session of Congress, despite backlash to the invitation from Democrats due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu stated he was looking forward to speaking to Congress to “present the truth” to lawmakers about the “just war” Israel has been fighting since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that left 1,200 Israelis dead and 240 taken hostage. He called it a “privilege” to represent “Israel before both Houses of Congress.”

Some Democrats criticized the House Speaker and Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson’s plan to invite Netanyahu to address Congress, resulting in tensions rising between members of the Democratic Party who still support the U.S. providing Israel with military support amidst the ongoing war and those who do not support U.S. involvement.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, outspoken in his disapproval of U.S. military support for the war, wrote on Twitter that “Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal” and should not be invited to speak at a joint meeting of Congress. Sanders added that he “certainly will not attend.” He also called the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Netanyahu for alleged war crimes committed by both “right,” adding that both leaders have “engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law.”

Democratic Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, Democratic Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost, and Democratic Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky have also stated they would not attend Netanyahu’s address.

Former House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has called for Netanyahu to resign, stated that Senate Majority Leader and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer should not sign onto Johnson’s invitation letter to Netanyahu. However, Schumer signed onto the invitation on May 31.

This address will mark the fourth time Netanyahu has addressed a joint session of Congress. During his last address in 2015, almost 60 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s address.

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