Congressional Invite To Netanyahu Sparks Liberal Outrage

As Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on July 24, several progressive Democrats are kicking against the plan and arguing that the Israeli leader never should have been invited into the U.S. to give a speech in the Capitol.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was one of the lawmakers who first voiced disapproval at the plan toward Netanyahu’s address. In a statement on June 1, in which he called Netanyahu a “war criminal,” Sanders vowed not to attend the meeting.

“Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend,” he stated.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has also said that she might not attend the event. Speaking to reporters on Monday, she said, “Not only is there very little purpose to it, but I think it is patently unproductive. I think it’s counterproductive right now for him to address Congress, particularly as we continue to try to nail down details on the cease-fire. I certainly do not approve of it, potentially may not attend.”

According to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Netanyahu “absolutely” should not have been invited to address Congress.

Asked on Friday if she would have invited him if still held the Speaker’s gavel, she responded, “No. Absolutely not, absolutely not. I think this is wrong. Frankly, I didn’t approve of his being invited the last time. But the speaker, just on his own, invited him without consulting with the rest of the leadership.”

Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) is another lawmaker who has indicated a plan to skip the joint meeting. Speaking to Fox News, Casar said, “I don’t plan to attend, and I will plan to participate in whatever advocacy is being done to push for Netanyahu and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire.”

“Instead of coming here, we need Netanyahu to stop bombing indiscriminately in Gaza and for him to respect the president’s red line of not having continued military operations in Rafah. don’t think it’s a good time for him to be coming,” he added.

Amid the disapproval the invitation has seen on the left, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained on Thursday his reason for joining House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in sending Netanyahu an invitation for the joint session of Congress.

Without saying whether his explanation was to address the backlash the invitation has gotten from progressive Democrats, Schumer said, “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.

The invitation was sent last week by Johnson, Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Netanyahu would later accept the invitation, saying, “I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress and to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us to the representatives of the American people and the entire world.”