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US Republicans may invite Netanyahu to address Congress amid Democrats' criticism of Israel

Call for invitation came right after Schumer speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 3, 2015 (Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

House Republicans are considering inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress, according to media reports.

The impetus for the invitation reportedly comes from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s recent speech, in which he called for Israeli elections to replace Netanyahu. 

In his speech, Schumer criticized both Netanyahu and his coalition. 

“The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after October 7,” Schumer stated. “The Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.” 

Schumer also said that “Netanyahu has lost his way,” and threatened that, unless Netanyahu changes his policies, “the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.” 

Last Wednesday, shortly after Schumer’s remarks, a coalition of conservative groups organized by former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence –Advancing American Freedom – sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, demanding an invitation for Netanyahu to address Congress. 

“We respectfully request that you extend an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress,” the letter stated.

“The address would allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to directly update Congress and the American people on the ongoing war.” 

“It would help fact cut through fiction, as the media’s attention on the Israel-Hamas war and the remaining hostages, particularly the five Americans still believed to be held hostage by Hamas, continues to fade,” the letter added. 

Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks, Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, and Media Research Center Founder L. Brent Bozell III were among the signatories of the letter. 

Johnson confirmed that House Republicans will consider inviting Netanyahu to address Congress.

“It’s one of the things that we have in mind, and we may try to arrange for that,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. “I think it’s very important for us to show solidarity and support for Israel right now in their time of great struggle, and we certainly stand for that position, and we’ll try to advance that in every way that we can.” 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Congressmen, Jim Jordan (L) and Mike Johnson (R) (Photo: GPO)

Such an invitation would require Schumer's support, however, it is unclear whether Schumer would approve the request, given his previous statements. 

Alternatively, Netanyahu could speak to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives without Schumer’s support, in the same way that he recently delivered a video address to Senate Republicans. 

Should Schumer choose not to extend the invitation to Netanyahu, it would underscore the growing significance of party divisions regarding support for Israel in American politics.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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