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Rep. Jerry Nadler slams Benjamin Netanyahu as worst Jewish leader in 2,100 years

Rep. Jerry Nadler Friday derided Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu as the worst leader of the Jewish people since an infamous Biblical turncoat.

The liberal Manhattan Democrat said Netanyahu has done more damage to his own people than anyone since a Jewish monarch of the Hasmonean dynasty who invited Roman invaders into the Holy Land to help him defeat an internal rebellion in the first century BC.

“He only got one competitor for the worst Jewish leader in history: that would be (a king who) invited in the Romans,” Nadler told Politico in a new podcast.

Nadler’s unflattering comparison was to John Hyrcanus II, a weak Jewish leader who ruled over a portion of the modern-day West Bank near Jerusalem several decades before the time of Jesus.

Hyrcanus II asked his Roman allies to help him defeat a rival Jewish faction but the tactic backfired spectacularly and led to the invaders effectively subjugating the Jews.

Nadler’s pointed remarks came as Sen. Chuck Schumer confirmed that he has no objections to Netanyahu delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress.

Schumer, who has also clashed with Netanyahu, says he will eventually join House Speaker Mike Johnson in issuing a formal invitation to the right-wing Israeli premier, but it remains uncertain when such a speech might take place.

“The timing is being worked out,” Angelo Roefaro,  Schumer’s spokesman, said Friday.

A source close to Schumer insisted there has been no recent change in the status of a possible Netanyahu speech, pointing to a statement in which the Senate leader said he “would always welcome the opportunity for the prime minister of Israel to speak to Congress.”

Netanyahu has spoken to joint sessions of Congress twice already. He would become only the second world leader ever to address three joint sessions of Congress, after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

But Netanyahu is a much more controversial figure today as Israel continues its war in Gaza.

Americans are sharply divided over the war in Gaza and President Biden’s strong support for Israel, with protests erupting at Columbia University and many other campuses in recent weeks.

The conflict has also frayed the relationship between Netanyahu and liberal Democrats like Schumer and Nadler, who had long protected Israeli leaders against criticism from its strongest ally.

Schumer, who is the most-senior Jewish elected official in U.S. history, recently gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he denounced Netanyahu and called for new elections in Israel.

Netanyahu hit back at Schumer, saying foreigners like the New Yorker should stay out of internal Israeli politics.


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