On Tuesday, as left-leaning Democrats queued up to boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s scheduled speech at the Capitol to protest the Jewish state’s actions toward the Palestinians, President Joe Biden leaned heavily on his notes after inviting Herzog to the Oval Office.
Biden stressed that the U.S. and Israel are an unbreakable friendship. He said that working together can help bring peace and unity to the Middle East. Biden said there’s still a long way to go, but we’re making headway.
The 80-year-old leader went on to detail some of his administration’s achievements, including their sponsorship of a maritime boundary agreement between Israel and Lebanon and their support of the choices of Saudi Arabia and Oman to allow Israeli planes over their country.
Where Israeli and Palestinian officials recently met with the assistance of the US and Middle Eastern countries is unclear to Biden, as are the towns of Aqaba, Jordan, and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The White House has been vocal in its disapproval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative government’s plans to reform the Israeli judicial system, a proposal championed by religious and nationalistic politicians with ties to Netanyahu that has sparked widespread opposition from secular Israelis and those who oppose West Bank settlements.
On Wednesday, in honor of Israel’s 75th anniversary of independence, the country’s president will address a joint session of Congress; however, several members of the liberal “Squad” have pledged to skip the celebration.
At least five Democratic representatives, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Cori Bush are set to miss Herzog’s speech in protest.
To show solidarity with the Palestinians and those harmed by Israel’s apartheid, representative Rashida Tlaib said she would not attend President Herzog’s joint speech to Congress. She calls on every lawmaker supporting universal human rights to stand with her.