Netanyahu to address U.S. Republican senators, after speech by Democrat Schumer, source says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 7:40 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address U.S. Republican senators via video linkup to their weekly policy lunch on Wednesday, a source familiar with the plan said, days after the Senate’s Democratic leader gave a speech harshly criticizing him as an obstacle to peace.

The plan underscored the politicization of Washington’s Israel policy, in which the Israeli leader has been aligned with Republicans.

In his speech last week, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, long a supporter of Israel and the highest-ranking Jewish U.S. elected official, told the Senate that Netanyahu’s government “no longer fits the needs of Israel” five months into a war that began with attacks on Israel by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Schumer urged new elections.

Republicans in turn harshly criticized Schumer.

Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday that Schumer’s speech was inappropriate.

Netanyahu’s plan to address the weekly Republican policy lunch was first reported by the political news outlet Punchbowl.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Gareth Jones)