Lawmaker Announces Plan to Skip Netanyahu’s Address to Congress

( – South Carolina Democratic Representative James Clyburn recently announced his intention to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on July 24. During an interview with The Hill, the liberal leader explained he wouldn’t attend the important event because of the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza and the past tensions between Netanyahu and former Democratic President Barack Obama.

During the Obama administration, the relationship between the United States and Israel was at a low point because of numerous disagreements between the two leaders. While many news outlets revealed on numerous occasions that Obama thought that Netanyahu was a radical, the main issue was the nuclear deal that the liberal president wanted to materialize with the Iranian regime. Netanyahu publicly expressed his disagreement with the deal, as he said it would’ve allowed Iran to develop nuclear capabilities in the future, which would’ve represented a threat to “Israel’s existence.”

Clyburn told The Hill that he preferred not to be in the same room with Netanyahu because he was going to treat the Israeli leader in “the same way” he treated Obama. However, the congressman said he would be part of an “alternative session” with other House representatives who also refused to attend Netanyahu’s address. Clyburn explained that the primary goal of that alternative session would be to get attention to “what makes sense.”

Netanyahu’s address will be the fourth time the Israeli leader has delivered a speech at Congress, following his previous visits to the United States in 1996, 2011, and 2015. In his latest visit, over 50 Democratic representatives skipped his address after the former House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner invited Netanyahu without notifying the White House.

Clyburn explained that he wants a two-state solution for the Israel-Gaza conflict, noting that President Joe Biden and Obama always wanted that as well. His comments came a couple of days after the NAACP publicly asked President Biden to pause the sale of military equipment to Israel following the killing of thousands of Palestinians during Israel’s military incursion into Gaza.

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