May 31, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Netanyahu officially invited to address Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a blue suit and blue tie.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

All four congressional leaders have signed onto a letter inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The speech, which has been in the works for months, threatens to ignite already simmering tensions within Congress over the war in Gaza.

  • The plan is to have the address within the next eight weeks or soon after Congress' August recess, according to a source familiar with the matter.
  • Netanyahu's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driving the news: The invite is signed House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

  • "We join the State of Israel in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive and its leaders jeopardize regional stability," they wrote.
  • "For this reason, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, we would like to invite you to address a Joint Meeting of Congress."

What to watch: Many progressive lawmakers have said they would likely boycott the address, similar to the dozens who declined to attend Netanyahu's controversial 2015 address to Congress.

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