Just a few weeks ago, the Biden administration marked its first hundred days. Ditto for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who has a new title to go with his new position. It’s one he’s trying hard to promote.
A running advertisement, approved by Schumer and paid for by Friends of Schumer, proudly boasts that, “Without a single Republican vote, Chuck Schumer pushed through the most progressive recovery package in modern history.” After applauding the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the narrator congratulates Schumer, “Not a bad day’s work for America’s newest Progressive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.”
So, the highest-ranking Democrat, who once called himself a “law-and-order Democrat” and an “angry centrist”, is now a proud “progressive”. And his crowning achievement thus far is the passage, on strict party lines, of a monumental social welfare bill cloaked in the guise of Covid relief. One, which actually spends less than 9% on actually defeating the virus. And if Biden’s wish list, as outlined in his address to the recent joint session of Congress, becomes reality, there will be trillions more where that came from.
Schumer hasn’t weathered forty years of politicking without astute instincts that inform him when someone is nipping at his heels. Amidst chatter of a possible primary challenge from AOC, he accelerated his abandonment of previous moderate or liberal ideology even before he ascended the Senate throne. Successful progressive challengers have taught hard lessons. And threats for 2022 are sprouting up all across the country, prompting Schumer and others to jump on the socialist bandwagon.
Most Democrats are now governing with a neo-Marxist playbook in one hand and an eye to the polls on the other. For good reason. Freshman progressive Jamaal Bowman, who defeated long-serving Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel in AOC-like fashion, delivered the first progressive rebuttal to Biden’s Congressional speech, praising Biden on economic, racial justice and climate issues but pushing for more. And at Biden’s hundred-day marker, AOC gushed that he “exceeded expectations that progressives had”.
What should worry Americans should worry American Jews even more. It is impossible to decompartmentalize the destructive ideology of these neo-Marxists, which includes promoting many policies anathema to true Jewish values. The false narrative of intersectionality, the progressive screed of oppressed and oppressors, dominates all ten of the progressives’ ten commandments. And the threat extends beyond American soil. Just like Democrats play the race card here, they play the same game overseas between Jews and Palestinians on Israeli soil.
As Hamas-fueled rockets rain down on Israel and violent Arab rioters attack Jews in cities across the Holy Land, progressive Democrats rush to castigate the Jewish State and demand a halt to its financial aid. AOC slammed Israel for “inhumane” treatment and “paramilitary violence”. Rep. Ilan Omar dubbed Israel’s defense as “an act of terrorism”. She was joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who demanded that U.S. tax dollars not support Israel’s acts of “apartheid” and “inhumanity”, and by Rep. Andre Carson in accusing Israel of “human rights abuses”. Rep. Ayanna Pressley demanded that “American government $$ should not finance state violence…in Jerusalem”. And the list goes on…
This same predictable cast of BDS-supporting characters is part of a group that recently co-sponsored a bill to condition U.S. aid to Israel, as introduced by known anti-Israel Rep. Betty McCollum. And they are also part of a group of 25 Democrats that just signed onto a letter pressuring U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to condemn the evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah. It is a number that is apparently much higher than what sources had been expecting, amidst a growing divide between mainstream and left-wing Democrats.
Such growing influence buttresses statements like that of U.S. State Department Ned Price, who urged Israel to avoid “acts of terrorism” against violent Palestinian perpetrators. It prods the current Biden administration to court Iran, renew payments to the PA and UNWRA in excess of $200 million, appoint anti-Israel cabinet members, rejoin the virulently anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council, etc. Just look at John Kerry, sitting on Biden’s National Security Council as special presidential envoy for climate, who was outed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif for betraying Israel after allegedly informing Zarif of more than 200 Israeli operations in Syria.
This influence now operates on all political levels. In Schumer’s state of NY, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, mayoral candidate Andrew Yang issued a strong statement of support for the beleaguered nation, declaring, “I’m standing with the people of Israel.” But after a stinging retort from AOC, who called his statement “utterly shameful”, Yang backtracked and is left tottering in his support instead.
It wasn’t that long ago that Schumer, who used to be fond of calling himself “Shomer Yisrael”, stood up to Obama in opposing the Iran Deal. Now, as the Biden administration falls all over itself trying to lure Iran back to the JCPOA, Schumer is oddly quiet. For someone famed for hogging the headlines, as he did for years every Sunday, commenting on inane subjects like cheese names, toy boats, and even a honey bee census, he’s been silent as Israel finds itself in mortal danger.
But Schumer did find himself in the news recently, when several Jewish organizations, including Jewish Federations of North America, the OU, Agudath Israel of America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, loudly applauded Schumer for his critical share in passing the behemoth Covid legislation. They specifically commended him for including a $2.75 billion allocation for nonpublic schools and other funding streams for human services.
It is difficult to fault Jewish organizations for wanting their fair share of the pie. Especially if much needed funds are earmarked for Orthodox day schools, which get short shrift compared to public schools. But with all the pork that went into this pie, there’s something not so kosher about how much praise was heaped on a man and administration whose policies have the ability to undermine the quality of Jewish life by calls for bigger government in all aspects of economic, social and cultural policies. Or for undermining Jewish life in the Jewish State.
If Jewish communal leaders are right in thanking politicians for delivering to their constituents, they should also be right in holding them accountable when they don’t. Both on local and national levels. American Jews must connect the dots between Biden’s overtures to Iran and the Palestinians with over a thousand rockets fired into Israel. And more must be done to prevent the stench of moral decay in radical social agendas from wafting into Jewish communities.
It would be shortsighted at best to applaud proliferate spending that brings America closer to the progressives’ socialist dream, tempting as it might be at difficult financial crossroads. But it is a Faustian bargain American Jews should beware of entering.
Sara Lehmann is a NY columnist and interviewer with Hamodia