July 15, 2024
House Dems Announce Plans to Boycott Netanyahu’s July Congressional Address

House Dems Announce Plans to Boycott Netanyahu’s July Congressional Address

(Headline USA) A growing number of House Democrats plan to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address at a joint session of Congress next month, increasing division within the Democratic Party over the U.S.’s continued support for the Jewish state.

Progressive Democrats have become increasingly opposed to further funding for Israel over the conflict in Gaza, while more centrist Democrats have defended Israel’s military action as justified. 

However, even the less radical ones appeared wary of Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S., arguing the political timing wasn’t right—particularly as President Joe Biden walks a delicate line between trying to appease his remaining Jewish backers and pandering to his growing base of Muslim extremists, whose support in states like Michigan and Minnesota could mean the difference between winning and losing the November election.

“I still feel like this is a terrible time for him to come,” Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., said.

“We have this ceasefire on the table,” she continued. “I have strong concerns that it undermines not just the president but also undermines all of the Israelis who have taken to the streets in the last few days, demanding that Netanyahu take this deal.”

In order to avoid directly criticizing Israel, many Democrats have focused specifically on the Netanyahu administration, scapegoating it for Hamas’s ongoing refusal to negotiate for the full release of hostages taken during its Oct. 7 ambush and massacre in Israel.

“I won’t attend and turn my back towards him, so I’m just gonna stay away,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.

Even Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the former House whip, said he would boycott the address, citing Netanyahu’s past tensions with former President Barack Obama.

“When it comes to that joint session, I do not plan to attend it,” Clyburn said on Sunday. “Because I’m going to treat him the same way he treated Barack Obama. But I am going to participate with a group of others in an alternative session to his joint session to see what now we can get some attention to what makes sense.”

It is unclear how Clyburn felt Netanyahu had shunned Obama. In 2015, Netanyahu similarly was invited to address Congress after having tried repeatedly to appeal to the Obama administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal seriously jeopardized Israel’s security, enabling Iran to bankroll even more regional terrorism while still pursuing nuclear weapons. However, Obama refused even to meet with the leader of one of America’s top allies due to his own political calculus of wanting to see Netanyahu lose his election that year.

Unsurprisingly, leftist “Squad” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., one of Congress’s most outspoken anti-Semites, said she “certainly” does “not approve” of Netanyahu’s visit and that she will likely skip his address.

Netanyahu is tentatively set to address Congress on July 24, the BBC reported.

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