RT-Engels: 25-07-2024,

The Israeli PM addressed Congress, seeking to bolster support for the war in Gaza 

Around half of House and Senate Democrats opted to stay away from a speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered before a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday, Axios has reported. 

The invitation to Netanyahu divided lawmakers, particularly Democrats. House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said in June the prime minister’s address would symbolize “the US and Israel’s enduring relationship” and “offer the opportunity to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy.”

A number of prominent progressives, most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders, said at the time they would not attend the speech over Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza following the October 7 attacks by Hamas, calling him a “war criminal.”

According to a headcount conducted by the news outlet, some 100 House Democrats and 28 Senate Democrats were in attendance, meaning that around half of both caucuses skipped the session. 

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Dick Durbin, Tim Kaine, Jeff Merkley and Brian Schatz were among the boycotters. 

Republican Thomas Massie also skipped the session. He said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that he did not want to be a “prop” for Netanyahu, arguing the speech was an attempt to bolster the PM’s “domestic political standing in Israel and to quell int’l [international] opposition to his war.” 

Protests greet Netanyahu in Washington (VIDEOS)

Netanyahu said he sought to “present the truth about our just war” to Congress,

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