Updated Mar 20, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House GOP weighs inviting Netanyahu to address Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue tie.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu. Photo: LEO CORREA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

House Republicans are considering inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's a response to harsh criticism of Netanyahu from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week.

  • Netanyahu is slated to address the Senate Republican lunch on Wednesday virtually.

What we're hearing: The idea was discussed at a closed-door Republican Conference meeting on Wednesday morning, according to multiple sources in the room.

  • "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."

Zoom in: Other ways to support Israel and Netanyahu, as well as messaging to combat Schumer's remarks, were also discussed in the meeting.

  • One idea raised was bringing in members of the Israeli Knesset to meet with the conference, according to a House Republican.

Flashback: Republicans stirred controversy in 2015 by inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress before informing the Obama administration of the plans.

The other side: Staunchly pro-Israel Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) told Axios he would likely attend a Netanyahu speech, noting he attended the 2015 one, but said it "should not be used as a wedge" with Democrats.

  • "I hope that leadership in Israel understands that the relationship is only strengthened by making sure that both sides of the aisle support Israel," he said.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional reporting and context.

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