Dems unite with Republicans to invite Israeli PM to address Congress in rare show of unity

Amid the left’s schism on the Middle East, Democratic leaders chose a side regarding a congressional invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The antisemitism displayed on college campuses and throughout city streets since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 has also posed concerns for Democrat politicians at the ballot box. Despite electorally impactful threats from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) crowd, the U.S. Capitol’s top four officials were in agreement on hosting the prime minister during a joint session of Congress.

“Last year, Congress was proud to host Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Washington to celebrate 75 years of friendship and partnership between our two democracies,” began a letter from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

“Less than three months later, the horrific attacks of October 7th shocked the world and forced your nation into a fight for its very existence,” the letter continued. “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.”

“The existential challenges we face, including the growing partnership between Iran, Russia, and China, threaten the security, peace, and prosperity of our countries and of free people around the world. To build on our enduring relationship and to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel, we invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,” the invite concluded.

While noted contrarians like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) had already expressed disfavor for extending the latest welcome to Netanyahu, roughly nine years after an invite during then-President Barack Obama’s administration provided a platform to speak out against the Iran Nuclear Deal, it hadn’t immediately been clear where Schumer and Jeffries would land on the matter.

As previously reported, Johnson had been cited by NBC News as saying, “My office told Senator Schumer’s office yesterday that he needed to sign the joint letter and if not, we were going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House, and I’ll send individual invitations to senators.”

That remark followed Schumer’s rejection of a request from the prime minister to address the Senate Democratic Caucus in March.

Meanwhile, the speaker proceeded to announce on Thursday at an event hosted by the Israeli Embassy, “Tonight, I’m happy to announce something else to you: that we will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress. This will be a timely and, I think, a very strong show of support to the Israeli government in their time of greatest need.”

With a date yet to be determined for the address, the invite comes as President Joe Biden has leaned further and further over the fence away from the Jewish state toward capitulation to rabble-rousers who’ve formed an “Abandon Biden” movement to impede the re-election campaign should the incumbent fail to meet their demands to deny Israeli’s right to defend itself — a matter that has seen the president repeatedly calling for a ceasefire in the conflict.

Kevin Haggerty

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