West News Wire: Democratic Representative Cori Bush is the latest member of the US Congressional Progressive Caucus to join the boycott of the upcoming speech by Israeli President Isaac Herzog. “The Israeli government is responsible for enforcing an apartheid state and rampantly abusing the rights of Palestinians,” Bush wrote on Twitter on Friday. She insisted that Congress “should not be giving a platform to the President of a country that shows no respect for human rights.” Herzog will visit the White House on July 18 and address Congress the next day in honor of Israel’s 75th anniversary. The Israeli president was formally invited last year by Congress leadership.
The first member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) to voice her displeasure over Herzog’s speech was Representative Ilhan Omar. “There is no way in hell I am attending,” the congresswoman wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Omar’s boycott was joined by fellow CPC members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman.
CPC members are frequent critics of Israel’s policies and have spoken about the rights of Palestinians on the House floor. In 2019, Israel barred Omar and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country. Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister at the time, said entry would be denied to “those who reject our right to exist in the world.”
The decision to snub Herzog was criticized by Republicans and some Democrats. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused CPC members of anti-Semitism, while Brad Schneider, a Democratic representative from Illinois, said that Omar was “making the wrong choice.”
President Herzog would be the person to listen to in a place where she claims to be interested in furthering human rights and prospects for peace, Schneider added.
Democratic New Yorker and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries predicted “an incredibly robust turnout” on July 19 and that he was looking forward to greeting Herzog “with open arms.”
Under President Joe Biden, as contrast to his predecessor, Donald Trump, a steadfast supporter of Israel on the international stage, relations between the two nations have not been as cordial. The State Department stated last month that it was “deeply troubled” by Israel’s proposal to permit the construction of more than 4,000 settler homes in the West Bank.