Israeli President Isaac Herzog, 62, addressed Congress on July 19, describing the U.S.-Israeli relationship as a “sacred bond,” linking criticism of the country’s government to antisemitism, and seeking to ease concerns that his democracy is backsliding. He characterized the “true friendship” between the U.S. and Israel as one “based on values” and praised the Trump-brokered Abraham Accords, as well as the Biden administration’s efforts to broker an Israel-Saudi Arabia rapprochement. Herzog also described a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians as his “deep yearning,” though he did not endorse any specific proposals in keeping with his largely apolitical and ceremonial position as president.
Quote: “In his speech, Herzog said he respects criticism of the state of Israel, ‘including some expressed by respected members of this House,’ even if he does not necessarily have to accept it. He did not mention [Rep. Pramila] Jayapal by name, but he appeared to link her criticism, and that of other progressives, of the Israeli government to infringing on the country’s sovereignty. ‘Criticism of the state of Israel must not cross the line into negation of the state of Israel’s right to exist,’ Herzog said. ‘Questioning the Jewish people’s right to self-determination is not legitimate diplomacy. It is antisemitism.’ ”
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