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US Senate majority leader Schumer rejects Netanyahu's request to deliver speech to Democrats

March 21, 2024 at 1:09 pm

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks at a press conference following the successful package of the Foreign Aid bill in the Senate in Washington DC, United States on February 13, 2024. [Nathan Posner – Anadolu Agency]

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Senate Democratic caucus.

An American official reported that Schumer told Netanyahu that these talks should not be conducted in a “partisan manner” and that meetings with foreign leaders in the Senate are always held together with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Schumer is described as the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the US and formerly a close friend of Netanyahu.

Yesterday, Netanyahu spoke about the war on Gaza in a video call with Republican senators, and then requested to deliver a speech to the Democratic senators on the same day.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer, a Democrat, rejected Netanyahu’s request, saying, “When you make these issues partisan, you hurt the cause of Israel.”

In turn, Schumer’s media spokesman implicitly criticised Netanyahu’s separate presence at the Republican Party meeting and said in a statement to Axios news site that these issues should not become a partisan issue.

On the other hand, House Speaker, Republican Mike Johnson, announced that he may invite Netanyahu to deliver a speech before Congress soon. Johnson said he has not yet made a final decision on the issue, but he believes that this will be beneficial for US-Israeli relations.

In a statement last week, Schumer said that Netanyahu mismanaged the post-7 October, 2023, period and called on Israel to hold new elections. He said Netanyahu had “lost his way” and had become an “obstacle to peace” in the region, amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Schumer said if Netanyahu’s government remains in power after the war, the US will have “no choice but to play a more active role” in shaping Israeli policy by using its leverage.

READ: Senator Chuck Schumer exposed just how fragile Israel is