Democrats Throwing a Tantrum Over Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

News & Politics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington on July 24 and speak to a joint session of Congress.

Likely, no more than a handful of Democrats will hear the speech. They’re in trouble with their Muslim and youth constituencies because of their support of Israel in their existential war of survival.

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Even now as they back off that support, the damage to the Democratic coalition may end up handing Republicans a devastating victory in November. 

About all the Democrats can do is boycott the speech. That is unless they want to act like college kids and find a way to disrupt the speech.

As it stands now, Democrats are looking to develop “counterprogramming” to Netanyuahu’s speech. It may take the form of a vigil of some kind or perhaps an event with families of American hostages whom Hamas is still holding. The Democrats are looking for some way to embarrass Netanyahu while he’s on American soil.

“These conversations are happening. And it’s not just progressives,” one House Democrat involved in the discussions told Axios.

“We are hearing from others in the caucus that they would like to be part of counter-programming that is focused on peace, bringing the hostages home, and ending this horrible conflict,” the lawmaker said.

The Hill:

The bad blood between Netanyahu and liberals on Capitol Hill is hardly new. Progressive Democrats have long denounced Netanyahu’s conservative policies, including his sharp criticisms of the Iran nuclear deal under former President Obama, which led to a boycott of the prime minister’s last speech to Congress almost a decade ago. Those old hostilities are still lingering, even as Democrats have found new reason to revile Netanyahu over his military campaign in Gaza. 

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

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“More moderate Dems are extremely frustrated that this Netanyahu visit undermines the work of the Biden administration and is disrespectful to Israelis who want Netanyahu out,” the unnamed lawmaker told Axios.

Criticizing Netanyahu for disrespecting people who want to throw him out of office might be one of the dumbest things a Democrat has ever said.

There are going to be a few Democrats there.

“They’re our strongest ally in the Middle East. He’s obviously the leader that they’ve chosen. And I respect the country very much, and I will be there,” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said.  

For his part, Netanyahu’s office says he will emphasize the “just war” that Israel has been engaged in.

“I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress and to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us to the representatives of the American people and the entire world,” Netanyahu said.

Republican leaders Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement saying the speech “symbolizes” the “enduring relationship between the two countries.

“The bipartisan, bicameral meeting symbolizes the US and Israel’s enduring relationship and will offer Prime Minister Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy, combatting terror, and establishing just and lasting peace in the region,” the statement said.

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Netanyahu really gave it to the Democrats during his last joint address in 2015. That was in the midst of the debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and Democrats thought that Netanyahu was undermining Barack Obama at the time. They were right. Netanyahu was trying desperately to torpedo that deal before Congress could approve it. He failed and the results of that failure with Iran now attacking Israel are self-evident.

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