June 19th, 2024

US leaders invite Israel’s Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress

By Associated Press, The Associated Press on May 31, 2024.

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defense, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Dec. 24, 2023. Netanyahu has repeatedly accused critics of Israel or his policies of antisemitism, including the U.S. college campus protests and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Top U.S. leaders have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress, a show of wartime support for the longtime ally despite mounting political divisions over Israel’s military assault on Gaza.

The invitation from House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, along with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, has been in the works for some time. No date for the speech was set.

It comes as the Israel-Hamas war, now in its seventh month after the Oct. 7 surprise attack by the Palestinian militant group, has caused widespread concerns in the U.S. and abroad over Israel’s conduct and the extensive civilian death toll.

A speech by Netanyahu would almost certainly expose election-year divisions in the U.S., where a growing number of Democrats have turned away from the right-wing prime minister, while Republicans draw ever closer to the Israeli leader.

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