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Senator Bernie Sanders has vowed to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress.

In a statement released on Saturday, Senator Bernie called Netanyahu a “war criminal” due to his actions in the Israel-Hamas war. He said, “Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend.”

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In his statement, Sanders also criticized the bipartisan invitation extended to Netanyahu, characterizing it as a “sad day” for the US. He acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense following the October 7 Hamas attack, which resulted in over 1,200 Israeli deaths and 250 hostages. However, Sanders vehemently criticized Israel’s military actions in Gaza, highlighting the civilian casualties and extensive damage to infrastructure and healthcare. “Israel does not have the right to kill more than 34,000 civilians and wound over 80,000 – 5% of the population of Gaza. It does not have the right to orphan 19,000 children or displace 75% of Gaza’s residents from their homes,” Sanders stated.

Sanders’ rebuke follows Netanyahu’s formal invitation to address Congress. House Speaker Mike Johnson extended the invitation, with support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Netanyahu’s address is anticipated within the next eight weeks or shortly after the August recess.

Previously, Sanders expressed his refusal to attend any congressional speech by Netanyahu, accusing Israel of creating “the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history.” Despite Sanders’ stance, Speaker Johnson and other congressional leaders have been keen to host Netanyahu.

Sanders also voiced support for the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Karim Khan in seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh, and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. “The ICC is right. Both of these people are engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law.”


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