Senate Majority Leader Schumer Warns of Rising Anti-Semitism as He Pushes for Aid to Israel

(J Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Senate Majority Leader Schumer Warns of Rising Anti-Semitism as He Pushes for Aid to Israel



November 29, 2023

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the U.S., warned Wednesday that anti-Semitism in the country has reached levels not seen in generations, and called on fellow Democrats to make this clear condemn.

Schumer’s comments during a nearly 45-minute speech in the Senate come at a sensitive time in the war between Israel and Hamas. The Biden administration is engaged in delicate negotiations over the release of hostages held by Hamas militants and an extension of the ceasefire. Democratic senators are increasingly calling for humanitarian conditions to be imposed on a military aid package for Israel, and the party’s left wing has shown that support for the Palestinians has increased.

Schumer is carefully monitoring the moment, but said it was time for a clear denunciation of the anti-Semitism that has flared up in the US and Europe since the militant group Hamas stormed into Israel last month.

The vitriol against Israel in the aftermath of October 1. 7 too often crosses the line into blatant and widespread anti-Semitism the likes of which we have not seen in this country in generations, if ever, the New York Democrat said.

The Anti-Defamation League has recorded a nearly fourfold increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the war began. The Biden administration has called on universities to combat the alarming rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Schumer added that because many of the incidents targeting Jewish people have occurred alongside left-wing demonstrations against Israel, the liberal Jewish people feel singled out, targeted and isolated. people to hear it used.

In many ways we feel alone, Schumer said.

It was an emotional moment for the senator. He told the Associated Press that he spent days over the Thanksgiving holiday writing the speech. In an interview, he said that his position as the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the country’s history prompted me to make this speech.

It would have been a dereliction of duty, not only to my Jewish heritage, but also to America, if I did not make this speech, Schumer explained.

The Oct. The attack by Hamas militants has taken a personal toll on Schumer. This week, after watching video footage of the atrocities committed during the attack, he was forced to sit in silence in his office for half an hour.

“I just sat, thought, let it all sink in,” he said.

In his speech, Schumer called on Israel to protect civilians in the Palestinian territories, expressed support for a two-state solution in the Middle East and criticized Israeli settlements in the West Bank. But he also argued that liberals have applied a double standard to Israel.

When Hamas terrorists actively hide behind innocent Palestinians, knowing that many of those civilians will die in the Israeli response: why does the criticism for any civilian deaths seem to fall solely on Israel and not on Hamas at all?

The House of Representatives this month censured Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her criticism of Israel. Part of the censorship resolution cited her use of the phrase from the river to the sea. The censure vote divided Democrats, with more than two dozen of them joining Republicans in supporting the censure, but others supporting Tlaib as she was formally admonished.

Now Schumer leads the Senate as lawmakers consider the White House’s request for military aid to allies, including $14.5 billion for Israel. The package would also include $9.15 billion for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and other places.

Democratic senators have increasingly called on the White House to pressure Israel to change its tactics to minimize damage to the civilian population during the war.

We must find a better path to help Israel achieve legitimate military and security objectives, Democratic Sens. said. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Jack Reed of Rhode Island said in a statement. American aid has never come in the form of a blank check, regardless of the recipient.

Schumer urged caution in placing conditions on the aid, saying the conditions could potentially hinder the ability to dramatically reduce the threat from Hamas, free hostages, deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and deal with Israel encourage the number of civilian deaths to be kept to a minimum.

Top Republicans have already rejected the idea of ​​attaching specific conditions to the aid package to Israel, as the US does with aid to other allies. Schumer also seemed to temper expectations this week that conditions could be included, saying any final package would have to be bipartisan.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) complimented Schumer’s speech Wednesday, saying it provided a history lesson for Americans about the Jewish people.

“I share his horror at the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in America and around the world,” he said.

Schumer said any safety or prosperity for Jewish people often feels tenuous after a long history of oppression.

For Jewish people around the world, the history of our trauma, which goes back many generations, is central to any discussion about our future,” he said.


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