Biden supports Schumer after senator calls for new elections in Israel

(Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Biden supports Schumer after senator calls for new elections in Israel



March 15, 2024

President Biden on Friday expressed support for Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer after the senator called for new elections in Israel, the latest sign that the US relationship with its closest ally in the Middle East is trending toward rifts over the war in Gaza.

Schumer, a Jewish Democrat from New York, sent tremors through both countries this week when he said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his way and warned that Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah while the number of Palestinian victims continues to rise.

He gave a good speech, Biden said in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Irish prime minister. I think he has raised serious concerns that are shared not only by him but by many Americans.

The Democratic president’s support for Schumer could further frustrate Netanyahu, whose political party has already sharply criticized the US senator.

You would expect Senator Schumer to respect Israel’s elected government and not undermine it, Netanyahu’s political party, Likud, said in a statement. This is always true, and even more so in times of war.

Biden’s comments reflect the evolution of his views on the war, which began when Hamas attacked Israel on October 13. 7, murder


1,200 Israelis. Since then, Israel’s counterattack has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

After his State of the Union address earlier this month, Biden said he needed a come-to-Jesus conversation with Netanyahu. He also accused Netanyahu of hurting Israel more than helping Israel with his leadership in the war, in which Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.

The latest challenge to the US-Israeli relationship is Israel’s plan to pursue Hamas into Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where displaced Palestinians have gathered to avoid fighting in the north.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said this from Vienna


We need to see a clear and actionable plan to protect civilians from an Israeli invasion.

We have not seen such a plan yet, he said.

But Blinken said tough talks between allies do not mean the alliance is falling apart.

That’s actually the power of the relationship, to be able to speak clearly, candidly and directly, he said.

Megerian writes for the Associated Press. AP writers Julia Frankel in Jerusalem, Matt Lee in Vienna and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.


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