[Photo Credit: Becker1999 from Grove City, OH, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Bernie Sanders Vows to Boycott Upcoming Netanyahu Speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced on Wednesday that he would not be attending any speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress.

“Look, you have a prime minister who has created the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history. Israel, of course, had the right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorist attack, but what Netanyahu has done is go to war against — all-out war — against the entire Palestinian people, women and children.” Sanders said during a recent appearance on CNN.

“Five percent of the population is now dead or wounded. 60 percent of them are women and children. Some 200,000 housing units have been completely destroyed. Every university in Gaza has been bombed. There is now imminent starvation taking place.” he continued.

This decision is in addition to the growing opposition from Democrats to Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) invitation efforts.

Johnson indicated on Wednesday that he anticipates that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will approve Netanyahu’s visit on Thursday, following several days of debate regarding whether the controversial Israeli leader should be permitted to address a joint session of Congress in the wake of severe criticism regarding the country’s strategy in the Israel-Hamas war.

Democrats have endeavored to achieve a challenging equilibrium between opposing Netanyahu’s government and supporting an ally in Israel.

The Biden administration has consistently exerted pressure on Israel to reduce its military advance in Gaza, citing a humanitarian crisis and widespread civilian casualties in the region.

Schumer expressed his willingness to extend an invitation to Netanyahu, following Johnson’s statement on Tuesday that he would send the invitation with or without his support.

Sanders’ remarks are a continuation of a group of Democrats who have already declared their intention to forgo the speech.

The opposition is a response to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) submission of an application for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and his defense minister for war crimes.

The Israeli leaders have been accused by the court of employing starvation as a weapon of war and explicitly targeting civilians.

The ICC’s recommendation has been met with severe criticism from both the Israeli government and the Biden administration. It is anticipated that a House bill to authorize the international court will be voted on in the upcoming weeks.

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