Schumer refuses Netanyahu request to speak to Democrats


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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday refused a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak with Senate Democrats.

Netanyahu met with Senate Republicans in a closed-door virtual meeting on Wednesday. But a Schumer spokesperson said there would be no such meeting with Democrats and that any discussions with the Israeli leader should be bipartisan. 

“Sen. Schumer made it clear that he does not think these discussions should happen in a partisan manner. That’s not helpful to Israel,” the spokesperson said.

Schumer reiterated his position on meeting with Netanyahu during a press conference Wednesday. 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS MAY INVITE NETANYAHU TO ADDRESS CONGRESS AMID RIFT WITH BIDEN, DEMOCRATS

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference following a Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol building on March 20, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“As I said, when you make these issues partisan, you hurt the cause of Israel,” the top Democrat told reporters. 

Schumer’s refusal of Netanyahu’s request comes days after he labeled Netanyahu an obstacle to peace between Israel and Hamas in a speech on the Senate floor. Democrats have become increasingly critical of the Israeli government as war between Israel and Hamas drags on with mounting civilian casualties in Gaza. 

SCHUMER TRASHED FOR ‘DISGUSTING’ SPEECH CALLING ON ISRAEL TO DUMP NETANYAHU: ‘OUTRAGEOUSLY INAPPROPRIATE’

Schumer and Netanyahu together in DC in 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, poses for a picture with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 15, 2017. Schumer is calling on Israel to hold new elections. Schumer says he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “lost his way” amid the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and a growing humanitarian crisis there. Schumer is the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In his remarks, Schumer implored Israel to hold new elections and warned it of becoming a “pariah” if Netanyahu remained in power. He claimed Netanyahu had “lost his way by allowing his political survival to take the precedence over the best interests of Israel.”

Republicans slammed his speech as “unprecedented” and “ridiculous.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Schumer of “interfering in the democracy of a sovereign ally.” 

Netanyahu responded to Schumer in a Sunday appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

SCHUMER’S ANTI-NETANYAHU SPEECH STRENGTHENS BIBI IN ISRAEL’S WAR TO DEFEAT HAMAS

screenshot of Netanyahu on Fox News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Schumer’s statements “wholly inappropriate” and said Israel is not a “banana republic” in an appearance Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”  (Fox News)

“I think Schumer’s statements are wholly inappropriate. I think we’re not a banana republic. The people of Israel will choose when they’ll have elections, who they elect, and it’s not something that will be foisted upon us,” he said.

“Just imagine that, after 9/11, and when you’re in the midst of fighting al Qaeda, and winning… some Israeli would say, ‘Oh, the right thing to do is not to have new elections in America or have President Bush resign.’ It’s inappropriate. Shouldn’t have been said. It’s wrong,” he added.

Amid the controversy over Schumer’s remarks, House Republicans have floated sending an invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress. 

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said he had a “lengthy conversation” with Netanyahu on Wednesday morning, but he did not confirm plans to invite him to give an address.

“We didn’t talk about those logistics, but it’s one of the things that we have in mind, and we may try to arrange for that,” Johnson told reporters. “I think it’s very important for us to show solidarity and support with Israel right now in their time of great struggle. And we certainly stand for that position. We’ll try to advance that in every way that we can.”



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