Sanders Declines Attendance at Netanyahu’s Congressional Address

Washington, D.C., June 4, 2024 – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders reaffirmed on Monday his decision not to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress.

“No, Mr. President, I will not be in attendance for that speech,” Sanders declared on the Senate floor.

He expressed disappointment over Netanyahu’s invitation by bipartisan leaders, including Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. While no date has been confirmed for Netanyahu’s address, it was previously reported to be scheduled for June 13.

Sanders criticized the invitation, showing photographs of children suffering from hunger in Gaza, taken by Getty, Reuters, and Al Jazeera. He responded to Speaker Johnson’s accusation that Sanders was “parroting the talking points of Hamas” by refusing to attend Netanyahu’s speech.

“I would say to Speaker Johnson that when you attend your fundraising dinners with your billionaire friends, and you eat your fine steaks and your lobsters and your other wonderful food, please remember these pictures from Gaza,” Sanders remarked.

He highlighted the humanitarian crisis, stating that Netanyahu’s government has deliberately blocked aid, including food, water, and medical supplies. Sanders emphasized that using starvation as a weapon is not only cruel but also a violation of American and international laws, constituting a war crime.

Sanders cited UN reports indicating that since mid-January, at least 30 children have died from starvation in Gaza, with over 93,000 children under five screened for malnutrition. He stressed that the actual situation is likely much worse than reported.

Despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire, Israel has continued its offensive on Gaza following a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7 last year. According to local health authorities, over 36,400 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, have been killed, and more than 82,600 others injured. Gaza remains devastated under a blockade restricting access to food, clean water, and medicine.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has accused Israel of genocide and ordered an immediate halt to its operations in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians sought refuge before the area was invaded on May 6.–News Desk