Dr Mike Evans

US House Speaker Johnson inviting Netanyahu to address Congress

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced Thursday his intention to extend an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress regarding the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

“I would be honored to have him address a joint session of Congress,” Johnson stated during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We will certainly extend that invitation.”

Johnson revealed that Netanyahu had invited him to speak before Israel’s Knesset once the logistics were arranged, noting that the details were still being worked out. He indicated uncertainty regarding whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who had criticized Netanyahu the previous week, would need to approve the prime minister’s address to Congress.

“As the one responsible for extending invitations to speak in the House, having just the House would suffice,” Johnson remarked. “However, I believe a significant portion of the Senate would wish to attend in solidarity with Netanyahu and Israel.”

Schumer released a statement affirming the enduring strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship, expressing willingness to facilitate Netanyahu’s address to Congress in a bipartisan manner.

The Senate leader declined on Wednesday to grant Netanyahu, who had addressed Senate Republicans via private video, the opportunity to speak to Senate Democrats behind closed doors.

Netanyahu’s last address to a joint session of Congress occurred in 2015, during a period of Republican majorities in both chambers, where he criticized the Obama administration’s handling of negotiations concerning the Iran nuclear deal.

Johnson also criticized Schumer’s remarks against Netanyahu’s leadership as “patently absurd.”

“Consider if I were to advocate for regime change in Ukraine amidst their crisis, fighting for survival,” Johnson remarked. “That’s the situation Israel is currently confronting. And for the Senate leader to make such a statement is simply outrageous.”

President Joe Biden also extended the invitation for an Israeli delegation to visit during a recent phone call with Netanyahu, while cautioning against proceeding with a ground offensive in Rafah, situated near the Egypt-Gaza border.