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Rep. Ro Khanna plans to skip Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., on Sunday said he plans to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress later this month, blasting the speech as “a one-way lecture.”

“I will not attend,” Khanna said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” adding, “I said that if he wants to come to speak to members of Congress about how to end the war and release hostages, I would be fine doing that, but I’m not going to sit in a one-way lecture.”

Khanna joins Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in planning to boycott the Israeli leader’s speech.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., in his Cannon Building office on Feb. 10, 2023.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file

Sanders earlier this month blasted Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and questioned why congressional leaders invited him to speak in the first place.

“What [Speaker Mike] Johnson is going to have to explain to the American people is why he thinks it’s OK to invite somebody to a joint session who is responsible for the deaths of some 38,000 Palestinians at this point, 60% of whom are women and children, elderly people,” Sanders told NBC News earlier this month.

Khanna and Sanders’ decision illustrates the anger from many progressive Democrats toward Netanyahu, whom they see as an obstacle to ending the war in Gaza and whom they blame for the humanitarian crisis affecting Palestinian civilians in the region.

Still, Khanna on Sunday said that any lawmakers skipping the speech “should be polite” about their decision.

He added, “We’re not going to make a big deal about it. He’s obviously addressing the Congress, and there has to be decorum.”

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