According to most analysts, the recent anti-Netanyahu blitz by President Obama has been nearly unprecedented in the US-Israel relationship. It seems that the Obama administration viewed the Israeli election results as a tragedy that they simply couldn’t cope with. First came silence, then denial, and now vicious anger and rage. In case you missed it, Obama chose the Huffington Post, which is the equivalent of Al Jazeera regarding Israel, to give his first major statement on Netanyahu’s election win. Within a 36 hour period, the president said that the US needs to “reassess” certain aspects of their relationship with Israel, threatened to withhold support at the UN and openly declared he doesn’t believe Netanyahu regarding his support for a two state solution. If you saw the interview, you know that he meant it. Pat Buchanan has said that the current crisis is the worst between the US and Israel since Dwight Eisenhower ordered the Israelis to leave the Sinai.
Why? He was not this bad until now, what changed?
Some have said that this is simply payback for Netanyahu’s speech to Congress that did not have the president’s approval. Others have suggested that he’s trying to minimize Israel’s world image in order to increase the chance of a successful deal with Iran. Those who feel that way seem to think that once negotiations with Iran end (successfully or not) he will snap out of it and pivot somewhat back towards Israel. I personally feel that he always had a dislike towards Israel which he masked for political reasons, and now, with no need for re-election, he no longer feels restrained by political consequence – hence we are now seeing the unfiltered true worldview of Obama. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear, Israel is feeling the wrath of an angry president with no end in sight.
The reaction from the GOP has been wall to wall, 100%, unapologetic, pro-Israel remarks. Marco Rubio gave a blistering speech on the senate floor defending Israel from these attacks. GOP lawmakers from every state, including Iowa, Missouri, Arizona and beyond have launched an aggressive counterattack defending Israel. While I do think some of it is partisan politics, I do not think too much would have changed had Obama been a Republican.
That leads us to Chuck Schumer, the Jewish senior Senator from NY. NY is home to the largest Jewish community in the world outside of Israel. One would think that he would be the voice of Israel, and lead the counterattack against the administration. As a senior senator from NY, his opposition carries enormous weight in the White House. The senator, though never known to be short on words, has simply not stood up to the administrations most recent rant. This from The Weekly Standard:
“Asked Thursday afternoon to respond to the administration’s anonymous threat, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “I’m not going to comment on that.” But is there anything Congress could do to ensure the United States continues to back Israel at the UN? “I’m not gonna comment on that,” Schumer replied.
Hardly a vigorous defense of Israeli interest.
To be fair, I do consider Mr. Schumer a strong supporter of Israel. He’s a reliable pro-Israel vote and my feelings are that he’s sincere about it. Yes, he votes for Israel, although of late he has not been outspoken enough, the way the Republicans have and most notably Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.
So why won’t Schumer be more outspoken on this issue?
According to Gallup, nearly 7 in 10 Americans support Israel when asked to choose between Israel and the Palestinians, which is roughly the same as it was in 2005. What happened though is that support for Israel in the GOP ranks rose to over 80% from around 60% and for the Dems, while still ok, dropped to around 50%. The problem Pro Israel Dems are facing these days is that those who say they don’t support Israel are not just indifferent on the issue, they are becoming increasingly anti-Israel , European style. In other words, Mr Schumer cannot defend Israel too aggressively or he will actually offend the increasingly vocal anti-Israel Democratic base that supports him on most other issues. Mr. Schumer wants to “kinda love Israel”. Chuck it seems wants to love Israel and eat it too.
It’s time for Chuck Schumer to speak out loudly and clearly for Israel against Barack Obamas aggressive attitude towards Israel. If Mr. Schumer and other mainstream Dems continue down this path, I think it’s time for the Pro Israel community to “reassess” our relationship with the Dem party, even Dems such as Chuck Schumer.
Speak up Chuck, I can’t hear you
Contact Chuck Schumer www.twitter.com/ChuckSchumer
Name withheld upon request.
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