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Democrat Lawmakers Voice ‘Discomfort’ Over Attending ‘Divisive’ Netanyahu Speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘It’s a terrible idea. No, I won’t go.’

Democrat Lawmakers Voice ‘Discomfort’ Over Attending ‘Divisive’ Netanyahu Speech

Democrat lawmakers are voicing their opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivering remarks to Congress.

During a Thursday visit at the Israeli embassy, House Speaker Mike Johnson said Netanyahu will soon be hosted at the Capitol during 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,” he said.

Prior to Johnson’s confirmation that Netanyahu will address Congress, Democrats in the House and Senate expressed their displeasure at the prospect.

“It would be an enormously controversial, divisive thing,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the head Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Axios.

When discussing whether to attend, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) said, “There will be discomfort.”

Other Democrats have already vowed not to attend.

“It’s a terrible idea,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) told Kaitlan Collins during an interview on CNN. “No, I won’t go. You have a Prime Minister who has created the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history.”

“Israel, of course, had the right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorist attack, but what Netanyahu has done is go to war against — all-out war — against the entire Palestinian people, women and children,” he continued. “Five percent of the population is now dead or wounded. 60 percent of them are women and children. Some 200,000 housing units have been completely destroyed. Every university in Gaza has been bombed. There is now imminent starvation taking place.”

“Democrats have attempted to strike a difficult balance between supporting an ally in Israel and pushing back against Netanyahu’s government,” The Hill reports. “The Biden administration has consistently pressured Israel to slow its military advance in Gaza, citing mass civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis in the region.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is Jewish, noted that she boycotted Netanyahu’s last visit.

She referred to the Israeli Prime Minister as a “menace” and said, “I certainly will not attend this one,” per the outlet.

“It’s not going to help move us forward — it’s a detriment. Should he come for any reason, in any venue, I am not going to be there,” she added.

“I don’t expect much from Netanyahu anymore,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). “I barely consider him a world leader. I consider him a war criminal, at this point.”

According to The Hill:

The pushback comes ... after the International Criminal Court (ICC), an international body based in The Hague, charged Netanyahu and his defense minister with war crimes for their military operations in Gaza following Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Among the charges, the ICC has accused the Israeli leaders of directly targeting civilians and using starvation as a weapon of war — allegations that have only fueled the liberal opposition to Netanyahu’s potential visit.

“He appears hell-bent on wiping out the population of Gaza,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). “I don’t see what would necessitate … a joint address to the Congress by a man who has been charged internationally for committing crimes against humanity.”

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