An outlandish criticism by Schumer – and standing up for Israel’s independence

Schumer. Wikipedia, Haim Zach

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York delivered a short speech referring to the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip, which is combined with an unusual criticism of the current Israeli leadership. Schumer claimed that Netanyahu “lost his way” and “has become an obstacle to peace and the progress of his people,” claiming that the current government in Israel does not reflect the will of the people in its policies, and called on Israel to go to new elections as soon as possible.

In modern diplomacy, and particularly among democratic countries, there is a norm and convention of non-involvement in domestic affairs of other countries and of reference only to foreign policy; therefore, Schumer’s remarks were heard as a particular refraction of this norm. Some hastened to present this as an unprecedented crisis in American-Israeli relations and a split bud in relation to the war, but it seems that this is not the case; Schumer, a Jew in his religion (and probably the most powerful Jew in the history of Congress) and a Zionist in his views, always supported Israel and promoted large-scale aid for it. In this war, too, a schumer unequivocally supports Israel, and even visited Israel during the month of October. His remarks seemed to have more to do with the Netanyahu government’s policy regarding Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians in general, rather than with regard to any conduct now in the Gaza Strip.

Nevertheless, the sharp deviation from the diplomatic norm required a strong response accordingly. The first to do so was Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Mike Herzog: “Israel is a sovereign democracy. It’s not helpful… to Consider the internal political scene of a democratic ally. It goes against our common goals.” The Speaker of the Knesset Ochana was also required to address the issue: “Schumer has been a friend and supporter of Israel for many years. However, his remarks tonight contradict the mutual respect that must define the relationship between the two countries.” The Likud party responded more directly: “Israel is not a banana republic.” Other elements in the American political system condemned the remarks, as did elements in the Israeli political system who probably even agree altogether with Schumer’s remarks. A few hours later, schumer made it clear that the right to choose the leadership is, of course, only in the hands of the Israeli public.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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