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US HOUSE SPEAKER: Netanyahu To Soon Address Joint Session of Congress

US House Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will “soon” address a joint session of Congress.

“This will be a timely and very strong show of support to the Israeli government in their time of greatest need,” Johnson said during the Israeli Embassy in Washington’s annual Independence Day event.

Johnson did not specify the date of Netanyahu’s speech but mentioned that US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had agreed to endorse the invitation.

Schumer’s cooperation comes just a month after he called for early elections in Israel to replace Netanyahu, whom he described as an obstacle to peace.

Even with an official invitation, it remains uncertain whether Netanyahu will accept, considering the contentious nature of such an address.

Nearly 60 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s last joint session speech in 2015. That address was organized by Republican Congressional leaders without informing then-President Barack Obama and aimed at lobbying against the nuclear deal with Iran, which the US eventually signed later that year.

A potentially larger number of Democrats might boycott a Netanyahu speech now, amid Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which has faced increasing criticism from progressives.

While Netanyahu appears to have secured an invitation from Congress, he has not yet received one from the White House. A trip to Washington without a White House invitation would further emphasize this divide.

Before October 7, Netanyahu had not been invited to the White House since returning to office in late 2022. His efforts to overhaul Israel’s judiciary and actions perceived as detrimental to the US administration’s efforts to preserve a two-state solution had drawn President Biden’s disapproval. Biden did visit Israel shortly after the Hamas-led attack, marking the first-ever visit by a US president to the Jewish state during a war.

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