Chuck Schumer to co-sign Mike Johnson’s invite for Netanyahu to address Congress

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he will join House Speaker Mike Johnson in inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress, sharply criticized Netanyahu in March but intends to co-sign a draft of the invitation that the Republican speaker sent over last month, his office told the Washington Examiner. A spokesperson for Schumer’s office said the timing was being worked out.

The development comes after Schumer condemned Netanyahu’s handling of Israel’s war against Hamas, which came in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people. Israel’s retaliatory campaign has destroyed the Gaza Strip and killed more than 34,000 people, a majority of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israeli officials have said 133 hostages remain in Gaza, though more than 30 are thought to be dead.

In his speech, Schumer called for new elections in Israel and said Netanyahu was a “major obstacle to peace.”

The New York Democrat’s public rebuke of Netanyahu led to intense criticism from Republicans and some Democrats. President Joe Biden — who has urged Netanyahu to do more to protect civilians in Gaza but has continued to approve billions of dollars in military aid without conditions — said Schumer made a “good speech” but did not expressly agree with his sentiment.

Schumer’s criticism was declared at the time to be a “watershed” political moment, and some said it highlighted the historically complicated dynamic between U.S. and Israeli leaders. Nevertheless, Schumer said days later that he would support the Israeli prime minister delivering a joint address to the U.S. Congress.

“Israel has no stronger ally than the United States and our relationship transcends any one president or any one prime minister,” Schumer said in a statement, The New York Times reported then. “I will always welcome the opportunity for the prime minister of Israel to speak to Congress in a bipartisan way.”