Netanyahu Is Set to Address Congress on July 24

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will address a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, the top two congressional Republicans announced on Thursday night.

Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, said in a statement that the speech would offer Mr. Netanyahu the opportunity to “share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy, combating terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region.”

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

Earlier this year, Mr. Schumer called for Mr. Netanyahu to step down and for Israel to hold new elections.

The bipartisan invitation to Mr. Netanyahu, issued last month by the top four congressional leaders with no date attached, masked a fraught behind-the-scenes debate over receiving him. The need for separate statements from the leaders of the two parties explaining their different rationales for extending the invitation underscored those tensions.

Some progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont have already promised to boycott the speech, calling Mr. 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, in contrast, are eager to hug Mr. Netanyahu close and unequivocally back his policies. Mr. Johnson has been the driving force behind the invitation.

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


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