Schumer: You can be pro-Israel and completely American

Senate Minority Leader speaks at AIPAC Policy Conference, stresses Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism.

Elad Benari, | updated: 01:15

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke on Monday at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC, and stressed the right of Israel to defend itself against terrorism.

“The security of Israel is, and has always been, in America’s national interest. But I fear that too many of the younger generation have the same understandings of the threats facing Israel as my generation,” he began his remarks.

“Hamas still sends rockets, Hamas still builds tunnels and the Iranian regime still plots to undermine Israel in any way. Anyone, young or old, who thinks these threats aren’t real, should just read today’s newspaper,” continued Schumer.

"Just this morning, a rocket from Hamas-controlled Gaza struck and destroyed a home north of Tel Aviv in Mishmeret, injuring seven people, including two infants. Our prayers are with them."

"Hamas said the rocket this morning was sent by mistake. They made the same claim two weeks ago, when two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv. What about the barrage of rockets that Hamas fired into Sderot just a few hours ago? Were those a mistake, too?" asked Schumer.

He stressed, “Israel has every right to respond, just as any other nation, including our own, would. No government can allow its civilians to be subject to rocket attacks, time and again. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel in condemning these attacks, and in defending their homeland."

Referring to the US-Israel relationship, Schumer stressed the importance of the bipartisan support for Israel.

“We must keep the US-Israel alliance bipartisan... This has been a mission for me,” he said. “Those who seek to use Israel as a means to score political points do a disservice to both Israel and the United States.”

He also blasted the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and explained why it must be opposed.

“I have long opposed the BDS movement – publicly, privately, and continuously – because its founders, and too many of its supporters, do not believe that the Jewish people have a right to any state in their homeland, whatever its size and boundaries,” said Schumer.

BDS founders, he explained, “did not believe in any state of Israel, and too many of its proponents want nothing more than for Israel to disappear. It’s a disagreement over Israel’s very right to exist and we must never accept that kind of disagreement.

He also rejected allegations that American Jews have a dual loyalty when they support Israel, in a veiled criticism of anti-Semitic comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MD).

"These age-old anti-Semitic tropes are false and we must renounce them. You can be a Jew and care about Israel and it does not make you any less American. You can be a Jew and lobby for Israel and it does not make you any less American," stressed Schumer.

“You can be, all at once, completely Jewish, completely pro-Israel, and completely American. And we are. That is what makes this country so exceptional.”

In conclusion, he said, “We must never forget what Israel and her freedom mean to the Jewish people. And what the friendship of the United States means to securing that freedom."