Netanyahu Address to Congress Set for July 24th

Sen. Bernie Sanders says the Israeli leader should not be given the honor of addressing a joint session of Congress

On Thursday, congressional leaders confirmed the Israeli prime minister will address a joint session of Congress on July 24. Netanyahu’s speech to the US legislature comes as Israeli forces have killed tens of thousands of Palestinians with American weapons.

Last week, bipartisan lawmakers in both chambers – including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Senate leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) – extended an invitation to Netanyahu to speak in the Capitol.

“The existential challenges we face, including the growing partnership between Iran, Russia, and China, threaten the security, peace, and prosperity of our countries and of free people around the world,” they said in a letter to Netanyahu. “To build on our enduring relationship and to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel, we invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combating terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region.”

While the date for the speech is now set, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he will not attend in protest of Israel’s actions in Gaza. “Benjamin Netanyahu is creating the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history. Starvation. Destruction. Death,” the senator wrote on X. “We should not honor him with an invitation to address the United States Congress.”

Over the past eight months, Israel has used American-provided weapons to reduce most of the Gaza Strip to rubble and kill over 36,000 Palestinians. Tel Aviv has largely prevented aid from entering the besieged enclave, pushing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to the brink of starvation.

The destruction and killing in Gaza have led the International Criminal Court to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. While the US and Israel are not parties to the ICC, both Washington and Tel Aviv are subject to the UN’s International Court of Justice, which has ruled Israel’s actions in Gaza could amount to genocide.

While US public opinion on Israel is trending downward, Tel Aviv has retained significant support in Congress. In April, lawmakers voted to send an additional $17 billion in military aid to Israel. A bipartisan group of representatives also went on to pass a bill that targets the ICC for its potential prosecution of Israeli officials.

A few members of Congress, including Sanders, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rep. Rashida Talib (D-MI), have protested Israel’s behavior. Those remarks have been met with stiff backlash, calls for censure, and charges of antisemitism from their colleagues.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.