Assessing the Allegiances of Our Public Officials

May 31, 2024 Statements

Washington, D.C. | | May 31, 2024 — The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) calls for the immediate revocation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invitation to address a joint session of the US Congress. If Congress fails to act, we call on the American people to voice their opposition to this invitation. Our elected officials must abstain from attending the address, signaling their commitment to their constituents’ demands and supposed support for democratic values and justice.

This invitation is deeply disturbing given Israel’s attacks on Gaza that have resulted in the death of over 35,000 Palestinians, 75 percent of which are children, women, and elderly. His appearance in Congress is an attempt to sway US public opinion amidst the global outcry against the heinous attacks on Palestine, which have led to significant loss of life and humanitarian crises. Even more questionable is our leaders’ decision to welcome a leader for whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has sought to issue an arrest warrant.

The invitation also comes at a time when the international community is increasingly critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, driven by the increase of awareness on social media. Images and reports of the devastation and suffering have fueled a growing movement of anti-war protests and calls for justice. Netanyahu’s attempts to influence US sentiment through this address are misguided and insulting to the discernment of the American public.

Moreover, this invitation coincides with the Biden Administration’s announcement of a Three-Phase Proposal for a Durable Peace in the Middle East which calls for a proposed ceasefire, further undermining US leadership at home and abroad. The Democratic Party is divided, with progressive members strongly opposing Netanyahu’s policies and aggressive military strategies. Even among mainstream pro-Israel Democrats, there is significant frustration with Netanyahu and the extreme right-wing government in Israel, who have become polarizing both in the US and Israel. 

Granting Netanyahu this platform in Congress not only subverts efforts for the end to a genocide of the Palestinian people but also risks further straining bipartisan cooperation. The support for Israel in Congress, evidenced by recent approvals of substantial military aid, does not reflect the growing discontent among the American public – significantly younger generations and progressive groups – who have ignited a surge of “uncommitted” protest ballots in the presidential primaries and demonstrations supporting Palestine and opposing war on university campuses. Israeli support in the Administration and Congress also emerges as a political liability for the reelection of these candidates. 

We question the priorities of our elected officials in extending such an invitation. Most foreign leaders do not receive this honor. Yet, Netanyahu is being invited for the fourth time, raising concerns about where the true allegiances lie—whether with the American people or with a foreign government whose actions are increasingly seen as oppressive and violent.

MPAC urges Congress to reconsider this decision and to stand with the victims of the genocide in Gaza rather than offering a platform to a leader whose policies erode American ideals of democracy and undermine US authority on the global stage.

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