Schumer in talks with Johnson to invite Netanyahu to speak to Congress

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he supports inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give an address to a joint session of Congress and that he is discussing it with House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Johnson told reporters that he had given Schumer an ultimatum: Sign the invitation by Tuesday "and if not we were going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House."

Schumer said earlier this month that he would support the invitation, but that the two leaders were still working out the timing.

"I'm discussing that now with the Speaker of the House and as I've always said our relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends any one prime minister or president," Schumer said in response to a reporter's question about the invitation on Tuesday.

In the weeks since, Netanyahu has been steadfast on his plans to invade Rafah, the southern Gaza city that has become a center for refugees fleeing Israeli bombing in northern cities, and Biden has pledged to withhold offensive weapons should he follow through.

Schumer's statement also comes the day after the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announcing he would be seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Monday, Schumer said the prosecutor's decision to include Israeli leaders in the arrest warrants "is not only profoundly unfair, but it is reprehensible."

"As disappointing as the ICC's decision is, it comes as no surprise because for decades and decades the ICC has shown it harbors deep biases against Israel," he said.

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in American history, has walked a line in his public statements amid the Israel-Hamas war, which has caused a rift in the Democrat Party.

In March, he called for new elections to be held in Israel to replace Netanyahu and "to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel."

The speech drew swift rebukes from Republicans, American Jewish groups and from Israeli officials, which said Schumer was unduly calling for an intervention in a democratic ally's political affairs.

Netanyahu spoke to Senate Republicans via videoconference shortly after the speech.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Schumer in talks with Johnson to invite Netanyahu to speak to Congress