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 June 3, 2024

Bernie Sanders Boycotting Netanyahu's Congressional Address Over War Crimes Accusation

Senator Bernie Sanders declared he will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's forthcoming speech to the U.S. Congress.

Breitbart reported that Sanders labeled Netanyahu a "war criminal," sparking controversy by boycotting the address, endorsed by leaders from both major U.S. political parties.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, officially extended the invitation to Netanyahu. The invitation, dated last Friday, aims to provide a platform for Netanyahu to discuss Israel's defense strategies amid escalating conflicts.

The Israeli Prime Minister accepted the invitation, expressing his anticipation to share "the truth about our just war" during his upcoming speech. This statement was made as Netanyahu faces increasing scrutiny from international legal authorities.

However, Sanders quickly voiced his disapproval through a press release issued the following day. He criticized the bipartisan invitation as a grievance against ethical conduct in international relations.

Sanders Expresses Disappointment and Concern

"It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited – by leaders from both parties – to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress," stated Sanders. His criticism hinges on the severe accusations from the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Netanyahu.

Sanders acknowledged the tragic events of October 7, 2023, when a Hamas attack on Israel resulted in 1,200 casualties and more than 250 hostages. While he recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, he condemns the expansive military response that ensued.

Amidst the conflict, the ICC has issued requests for arrest warrants for Netanyahu along with Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and leaders from Hamas. Sanders has emphasized that Israel's actions, deemed disproportionate by many, should not be supported with U.S. foreign aid.

"The ICC is right. Both of these people are engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law," Sanders stated on a national television appearance. He further argued that the ongoing military actions in Gaza are unjustifiable and violate international norms.

During his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press in early May, Sanders reiterated his stance that no further U.S. aid should be directed towards Israel under its current policy. This has sparked a broader discussion on the implications of foreign aid and its alignment with international law.

Further, in a CNN interview, Sanders discussed the complexity of dealing with Hamas. He argued that it is impossible to "destroy the entire people" of Gaza, stressing the need for a balanced approach to resolving the conflict.

Conclusion: A Divisive Issue at the Heart of U.S. Politics

In conclusion, Senator Bernie Sanders' decision to boycott Netanyahu's speech highlights a significant rift in U.S. foreign policy debates.

The senator's firm stance on the misuse of military power and the importance of adhering to international law presents a challenging narrative for Congress to consider as it navigates its foreign policy decisions.

Written By:
Christina Davie

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