Schumer calls for new elections in Israel and says Netanyahu has ‘lost his way’

(Uncredited / Associated Press)

Schumer calls for new elections in Israel and says Netanyahu has ‘lost his way’



March 14, 2024

Senate Majority Leader

Chuck Charles E.

Schumer called on Israel on Thursday to hold new elections, saying he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his way and is an obstacle to peace in the region amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Schumer, the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the US, sharply criticized Netanyahu in a 40-minute speech on the Senate floor on Thursday morning. Schumer said the prime minister has placed himself in a coalition of far-right extremists and as a result has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing global support for Israel to an all-time low.

Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah, Schumer said.

The high-level warning comes as a growing number of Democrats have opposed Israel and become president


Biden has increased public pressure on Netanyahu’s government, warning that he must pay more attention to the number of civilian casualties in Gaza as a result of the Israeli bombardment.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 31,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in the latest war.

The US this month began airdrops of desperately needed humanitarian aid and announced it will set up a temporary pier to get more aid to Gaza by sea.

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Schumer has positioned himself as a strong ally of the Israeli government, visiting the country just days after the brutal attack in October. 7 attack by Hamas and delivering a lengthy speech in the Senate in December condemning blatant and widespread anti-Semitism the likes of which we have not, if ever, seen in this country in generations.”

But he said in the Senate on Thursday that the Israeli people are currently being oppressed by a government vision that is stuck in the past.

Schumer says Netanyahu, who has long opposed Palestinian statehood, is one of many obstacles standing in the way of the two-state solution pushed by the United States. Netanyahu has lost his way by putting his political survival ahead of Israel’s best interests, Schumer said.

Schumer also blames right-wing Israelis, Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Until they’re all removed from the equation, he says

ID card

there will never be peace in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

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Schumer says the United States cannot dictate the outcome of an election in Israel, but that new elections are the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about Israel’s future, at a time when so many Israelis are losing theirs have lost. trust in the vision and direction of their government.

Netanyahu has long had a cozier relationship with Republicans in the United States, most notably speaking at a joint session of Congress in 2015 at the invitation of Republican lawmakers to try to torpedo the former president.


Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. The move infuriated Obama administration officials, who saw it as an intolerable end to Obama’s presidential authority and as an unacceptably deep interference in American politics and foreign policy.

Just this week, Netanyahu was invited to speak with Republican senators at a party retreat. But Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog was the last to take his place

Minute scheduling issues, according to a person familiar with the closed-door meeting.

It is unclear how Schumer’s unusually direct call will be received in Israel, where the next parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 2026. Many Israelis hold Netanyahu responsible for failing to stop the October elections. Hamas’ cross-border attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and its popularity appears to have taken a hit as a result.

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Protesters in Israel calling for early elections have accused Netanyahu of making decisions based on keeping his right-wing coalition intact rather than on Israel’s interests in times of war. And they say he is jeopardizing Israel’s strategic alliance with the United States by rejecting American proposals for a post-war vision for Gaza to appease far-right members of his government.

U.S. priorities in the region are increasingly hampered by the far-right members of his Cabinet, who share Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood and other objectives that successful U.S. administrations have seen as essential to resolving Palestinian-Israeli conflicts.

long term long term


During a hot-mic moment while speaking to lawmakers after his State of the Union address, Biden promised a “come to Jesus” moment with Netanyahu.

And Vice President Kamala Harris, Schumer and other lawmakers met in Washington last week with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet and a much more popular rival of Netanyahu, a visit that drew a rebuke from the Israeli prime minister.

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Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government in the War Cabinet shortly after the Hamas attack


. But Gantz is expected to leave the government once the heaviest fighting subsidies are provided, signaling that the period of national unity is over. A return to mass demonstrations could increase pressure on Netanyahu’s deeply unpopular coalition to hold early elections.

Schumer said that as the highest

high-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, he feels obliged to speak out. He said his last name is derived from the Hebrew word Shomer, which means guardian.

“I also feel very strongly my responsibility as Shomer Yisroel, a guardian of the people of Israel,” he said.

Schumer said that if Israel tightens its control over Gaza and the West Bank and creates a de facto single state, there should be no reasonable expectation that Hamas and their allies will lay down their arms. It could mean an ongoing war, he said.

As a democracy, Israel has the right to choose its own leaders, and we must let the chips fall where they may, Schumer said. But the most important thing is that Israelis are given a choice.

Jalonick and Knickmeyer write for the Associated Press.


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