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Dems hesitate on attending Netanyahu speech to Congress as party splinters on Israel

Rank-and-file Democrats are hesitating to say whether they will attend the joint address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month as the country continues to fight terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Senate Democrats appear to be hesitating on whether they will attend remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month to a joint session of Congress. 

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told Fox News Digital. 

Asked whether he had specific reservations, he reiterated, “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”


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Last month, bipartisan congressional leaders signed an invitation to Netanyahu to speak to lawmakers as Israel continues to fight terrorist group Hamas in war-torn Gaza. In the letter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., wrote, “To build on our enduring relationship and to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel, we invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region.”

While Schumer has been critical of Netanyahu specifically, he signed onto the invitation, justifying his choice to do so by explaining, “America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister.”

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“We’ll have to see what it conflicts with,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said of his potential attendance at the address, which is slated for July 24

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Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., told Fox News Digital, “I haven’t decided.” 

The same sentiment was echoed by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who said he also had yet to determine whether he will attend the Israeli prime minister’s address. 

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Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who caucuses with Democrats in the upper chamber, claimed, “I haven’t even thought of it,” declining to answer whether he had reservations about going to the address by Netanyahu. 

Vocal progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who are also members of the Democratic caucus, have each already revealed that they won’t be going to the address. Sanders, a prominent critic of Israel’s actions in the war, released a statement after the invitation was extended, saying, “It is a very sad day for our country that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited – by leaders from both parties – to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.”

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Warren reportedly shared with the Hill her plan not to attend, saying, “Benjamin Netanyahu has created a humanitarian disaster.”

While there is a group of rank-and-file Democrats in the Senate who have yet to make a decision, there were also several who confirmed, without hesitation, that they would be at Netanyahu’s remarks next month. 

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“Yes,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., when asked whether she would attend. 

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Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., was similarly quick to confirm her planned attendance. The vulnerable incumbent Democrat is currently up for re-election in the swing state of Nevada. Notably, Rosen is only the third Jewish woman to serve as senator in U.S. history. She is also co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force For Combating Antisemitism. 

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Bob Casey, D-Penn., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who face their own competitive elections in November, are also planning to attend the Netanyahu remarks. 

Schumer’s office did not provide comment to Fox News Digital when asked for his response to potential Democratic absences. 

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