Clyburn to Boycott Netanyahu’s Upcoming Address to Congress

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) has announced that he will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress scheduled for July 24. Clyburn’s decision comes in response to Israel’s ongoing military actions in Gaza and Netanyahu’s historically strained relationship with former President Obama.

In a recent interview on NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday,” Clyburn explained his decision: “I’m going to treat him the same way he treated Barack Obama.” This statement refers to Netanyahu’s controversial stance during Obama’s presidency, particularly on Palestinian statehood and the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, which created tension between the two leaders.

Netanyahu’s visit has already been met with criticism from some progressive Democrats. They oppose Israel’s current military operations in Gaza, which have resulted in heavy civilian casualties. Clyburn, sharing these concerns, plans to join a group in an alternative session during Netanyahu’s address to focus on seeking constructive dialogue and solutions.

This upcoming address will be Netanyahu’s fourth to a joint session of Congress. His previous appearance in 2015 saw a significant boycott from Democrats, who were upset that Netanyahu was invited by then-Speaker John Boehner without notifying the Obama administration. This event deepened the rift between Netanyahu and Obama.

Clyburn, a long-time advocate of a two-state solution in the Middle East, reiterated the importance of this approach, a view supported by both Obama and President Biden. He criticized Netanyahu’s opposition to such efforts and emphasized that many Israelis also disapprove of Netanyahu’s policies.

The announcement comes shortly after the NAACP urged President Biden to halt arms sales to Israel. Clyburn supports the NAACP’s stance but also stresses the need for finding common ground in U.S.-Israel relations. He commends Biden’s efforts to navigate these complex issues while advocating for balanced and fair policies.

The context of Clyburn’s decision is the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has been particularly intense since the militant group’s attack on southern Israel on October 7. This conflict continues to influence U.S. and global views on Israel’s actions and its government’s policies.

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