Netanyahu will give a speech to Congress on July 24

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, the two top Republicans in Congress announced Thursday evening.

Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, said in a statement that the speech will give Netanyahu the opportunity to “share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, fighting terrorism and establish justice.” and lasting peace in the region.”

But in a separate statement that alluded to deep political divisions over Netanyahu and Israel’s war in Gaza, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and majority leader, said he had “clear and profound disagreements with the prime minister, who I have spoken out both privately and publicly and will continue to do so.” He said he nevertheless joined the call for Netanyahu to address Congress because “America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or one prime minister.”

Earlier this year, Schumer called for Netanyahu to resign and for Israel to hold new elections.

The bipartisan invitation to Netanyahu, issued last month by four top congressional leaders with no date attached, masked an intense behind-the-scenes debate over his welcome. The need for separate statements from the leaders of the two parties explaining their different motivations for extending the invitation underlined such tensions.

Some progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont have already vowed to boycott the speech, calling Netanyahu a “war criminal” for his tactics in the war against Hamas, which has killed tens of thousands of people in Gaza and caused a humanitarian disaster.

Republicans, by contrast, are eager to embrace Netanyahu closely and unequivocally support his policies. Mr Johnson was the driving force behind the invitation.

“I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both houses of Congress and presenting the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us to representatives of the American people and the entire world,” Netanyahu said. in a declaration of acceptance of the invitation.