Bernie Sanders Objects to Netanyahu's Congressional Speech, Labels Him 'War Criminal'

 June 2, 2024

Senator Bernie Sanders has expressed his disapproval and has decided to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech at a joint meeting of Congress.

He labeled Netanyahu a "war criminal," opposing the bipartisan invitation that leaders of the U.S. Congress extended to the Israeli Prime Minister, Breitbart News reported.

In an official statement, Vermont Independent Senator Sanders articulated his concern about Netanyahu's invitation to address Congress. The invitation was sent by key figures from both Democratic and Republican parties, indicating broad-based approval from the U.S. legislative leaders for Netanyahu’s visit.

Netanyahu's Planned Speech Amid ICC’s Legal Actions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared eager to address the U.S. Congress, viewing it as an opportunity to present Israel's perspective on its defensive measures against hostility.

Netanyahu's planned discourse aims to justify actions taken against threats to Israeli security, especially in the context of the recent conflict initiated by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

Senator Sanders acknowledged the right of Israel to defend itself from such attacks but criticized the extended military response that followed. According to him, Israel's actions have escalated to an unwarranted level, affecting the Palestinian population disproportionately.

Global Criticism and Local Controversies Surrounding Netanyahu

This is not the first instance of international backlash against Prime Minister Netanyahu. His policies, particularly those impacting Israel’s democratic and judicial structures, have stirred protests and controversies. One notable instance was his visit to Berlin on March 16, 2023, where his policies received support and significant opposition.

Senator Sanders continued the critique thread and commented on the actions of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is currently pursuing arrest warrants for Prime Minister Netanyahu and other officials, citing violations of international law.

Senator Sanders stated:

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... The ICC is right. Both of these people are engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law.

Response from U.S. and International Bodies

The invitation extended to Netanyahu by prominent U.S. political leaders, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, has been seen as a bipartisan effort.

However, it has also sparked a debate across political and public spheres regarding the appropriateness of this gesture, given the legal and moral controversies surrounding Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s reaction to the invitation was marked by enthusiasm and an anticipation to elucidate the reasoning behind Israel’s security measures, especially after the October 7 attack by Hamas. This speech is part of his broader effort to navigate international criticisms while maintaining his domestic policy agenda.

In conclusion, U.S. congressional leaders' decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak has ignited a series of debates and criticisms. Senator Sanders, among others, questions the message this invitation sends, given the ongoing ICC investigation and the broad international critique of Netanyahu’s policies. This scenario manifests the complexity of international relations, where diplomacy, politics, and law intersect controversially.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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