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Speaker Johnson Mulls Inviting Netanyahu To Address Congress After Schumer’s Blistering Words

Speaker Johnson Mulls Inviting Netanyahu To Address Congress After Schumer’s Blistering Words

In what would be a huge opposing shot across the bow following last week’s Chuck Schumer speech denouncing Benjamin Netanyahu, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson says he might invite the Israeli prime minister 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 after the idea was reportedly raised in a meeting with other House lawmakers. “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,” he added.

Johnson further indicated he had a Wednesday morning phone call with Netanyahu. “I had a lengthy conversation this morning with Prime Minister Netanyahu and reiterated to him the House Republicans’ strong support for Israel,” he confirmed.

Axios was the first to report the development, and detailed:

  • “It was suggested by several folks” to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), one House Republican said.
  • Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.), who also confirmed the discussion, said there is “strong support to show respect for Israel’s sovereignty.”

However, as CNN notes “An invitation to address a joint session of Congress would require buy-in from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer” — a very uncertain prospect given Schumer lambasted Netanyahu in his Thursday address, and went so far as to call for new elections.

Netanyahu’s office and Likud officials have since complained that Schumer’s words were tantamount to ‘interference’ in Israeli democracy. A senior Israeli official had also slammed the Biden administration in remarks to the Jerusalem Post, saying, “We expect our friends to act to overthrow the terror regime of Hamas and not the elected government in Israel.”

No doubt many Republicans, and even some Democrats, feel the same way. Schumer’s words were a shock and felt like an earthquake in Israel, given also he was seen as personally close to Netanyahu.

Biden had called Schumer’s criticisms, wherein he said Israel risked becoming a “pariah” under Netanyahu, a “good speech”

Still, the fact remains that even as Netanyahu violates Biden’s red lines on Rafah and humanitarian issues in Gaza, the administration says it will not halt weapons transfers to Tel Aviv. Biden has yet to so much as attach conditions to the supply of weapons, but there have been reports of Washington slowing deliveries of arms and ammo.

Wed, 03/20/2024 – 16:40

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