Johnson: No date set for Netanyahu address to Congress

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove incorrect information from a source about the date of Netanyahu’s address.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday said no date has been set for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, noting that an earlier proposed date falls on a Jewish holiday.

“We had a proposed date, but it conflicts with a Jewish holiday,” Johnson said. “So we’re trying to get this done in the next couple of weeks and that there’s a sense of urgency on our side and the prime minister so I hope we get it done quick.”

He added, “We have a couple of different options that we’re looking at in mind and we’ll figure it out.”

The Hill and several other outlets had earlier reported the June 13 date, which falls on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, citing a source familiar.

A spokesperson for Netanyahu also confirmed to The Hill that no date has been set.

The top four congressional leaders on Friday formally invited Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, which the longtime Israeli leader accepted. In a post on the social platform X, Netanyahu said he was “thrilled” about the opportunity to speak to lawmakers.

The speech will mark the culmination of a months-long conversation about whether Netanyahu would address Congress as Israel’s war against Hamas continues.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) first floated the idea in March, but the timeline was pushed back as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) held off on signing the invitation for weeks. In a floor speech in March, Schumer called for new elections in Israel and argued that Netanyahu had “lost his way,” prompting opposition from the Israeli leader, Republicans and some Democrats.

Netanyahu’s address is already sparking intense ire among progressive lawmakers, who are up in arms over the increasing number of humanitarian deaths in the Gaza Strip. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced on Saturday that he would skip the Israeli leader’s speech, calling Netanyahu a “war criminal.”

“Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend,” Sanders said in a statement.

The speech will come less than one month after the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants against Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and leaders of Hamas, alleging that they “bear criminal responsibility” for a number of war crimes.

Updated at 7:03 p.m.

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