An increasing number of Democratic representatives plan to boycott the upcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before US Congress. The lawmakers believe his repeated rebuffs of President Joe Biden’s calls for a ceasefire, the several instances where he ignored humanitarian stipulations, and the general bloodshed unleashed by Israel in its war against Hamas warrant a protest.

The speech, scheduled for July 24th, is the result of plans from earlier this year of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to invite Netanyahu to the American capital in an effort to redress Democratic criticism of the war-besieged country.

I won’t attend and turn my back towards him,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA). “So I’m just gonna stay away.”

“He imported a little bit of controversy the last time he was here,” Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) argued. “I thought it was disrespectful to the president, so I’m inclined not to attend.”

“I’m not planning on attending, and/or I’ll be participating in whatever events there are to express that we want this war to end and we want both him and Hamas to agree to a cease-fire,” said Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX).

Learn the benefits of becoming a Valuetainment Member and subscribe today!

Democratic leadership, including chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), said they support the lawmakers’ right to protest.

Biden claimed on May 31st that he was nailing down the specifics of a truce proposal drawn up by Israel and passed along to mediators in contact with Hamas. A senior Israeli official told NBC News that this was “not accurate” and that Israel has not agreed to completely withdraw troops from the Gaza Strip in relation to an exchange of hostages. “Israel has not changed its conditions to reach a permanent cease-fire. That will only happen after our objectives are met including destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities,” they said. They also denied Israel made it, saying it was designed by mediators and later amended by Israel.

Related: Israeli Special Forces Rescue Four Hostages from Hamas in Central Gaza Raid

The Biden administration is also working on a deal to offer America’s protection to Saudi Arabia in exchange for their diplomatic recognition of Israel. But this would require Israel to agree to the creation of a distinct Palestinian state—something that Israel has hypothetically voiced support for but only if a decade of exacting preconditions are met.

Netanyahu has rejected Biden’s calls for ceasefire and has signaled every intention to continue with the war. A centrist member of Israel’s three-person war cabinet, Benny Gantz, announced he would be resigning on Sunday, arguing that Netanyahu is placing his own “political survival” over National Security. Gantz had joined Netanyahu’s administration to stress political unity, a move which earned Israel favor with more moderate US politicians and international actors.

“Unfortunately, Netanyahu is preventing us from achieving true victory, which is the justification for the painful and ongoing price,” he said, adding that Netanyahu is “making empty promises” and that the government must adjust its tactics as he believes the war will last for many more years.

Additionally, a Senior Civil Military Adviser in the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration resigned on Tuesday after the agency released a report absolving Israel of responsibility in limiting aid to Gaza. The adviser, Stacy Gilbert, claims there is concrete proof and a general consensus in the humanitarian community that Israel had a hand in curbing the amount of food and medical supplies crossing into Gaza and therefore the US government is guilty of falsifying records.

Last week, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief said Israel is making preparations to start a war with Hezbollah, a militant group operating out of Lebanon, per a pending decision. “We are approaching the point where a decision will have to be made, and the IDF is prepared and very ready for this decision,” said IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi during a military assessment in Kiryat Shmona. “We have been attacking for eight months, and Hezbollah is paying a very, very high price. It has increased its strengths in recent days and we are prepared after a very good process of training… to move to an attack in the north.”

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics and business for VT and a regular guest on The Unusual Suspects. Follow Shane’s work here.

Add comment