Morton Klein
Morton KleinArutz Sheva

Senate Majority Leader Schumer often calls himself a “Shomer Israel” – guardian of Israel, and did so again at the outset of his lengthy speech on the Senate floor on March 14, 2024. Following the speech, ZOA received numerous calls from American Jews and pro-Israel Americans expressing their shock at Schumer’s dangerous statements, which attacked Israeli democracy and Israel’s fight for her existence against Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terrorists.

ZOA and the American Jewish and pro-Israel communities are horrified that Schumer is improperly interfering with Israeli democracy by calling for new, premature elections in Israel to try to unseat Israel’s democratically elected prime minister and Knesset, almost three years before the current Israeli government’s four-year term ends. That sort of divisive interference with a foreign government should be unthinkable. Schumer also failed to mention that Israel is now governed by a broad-based war cabinet, and that Israelis are united in the need to destroy Hamas’ terror army and bring the hostages home.

Schumer also gave succor to Israel’s enemies by wrongly labeling as “major obstacles to peace” Israel’s democratically-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other Israeli ministers, and the 500,000 peaceful Jews living in Judea/Samaria (whom Schumer falsely and insultingly called “far-right wing extremists” and “right wing zealots”). Schumer also promoted the Biden administration’s actions against them.

Further interfering with Israeli democracy, sovereignty and safety, Schumer called for the U.S. and Arab nations to pressure Israel to give up her lawful land to create what would be a Palestinian Iranian-proxy terror state that endangers Israel’s continuing existence (the so-called “two-state solution”). Schumer threatened to cut off U.S. support if Israel did not comply, saying: “the U.S. Government should DEMAND that Israel conduct itself with a future two-state solution in mind. We should not be forced into a position of unequivocally supporting the actions of an Israeli government that include bigots who reject the idea of a Palestinian state.”

Thus, according to Schumer, anyone who sensibly rejects creating a Palestinian terror state on Israel’s land is a “bigot.” That means that Schumer is calling 85% of Israelis and a high percentage of Americans “bigots”!

Schumer also ignored the last century of history, and absurdly asserted that the prospect of a state would magically make the Palestinian Arabs peaceful – but that more terror would result if Israel takes real, sensible anti-terror actions, such as tightening Israeli security control. Schumer incredibly stated: “With the prospect of a real two-state solution on the table, and for the first time genuine statehood for the Palestinian people, I believe they will be far more likely to support more mainstream leaders committed to peace.”

The first time??? The Arabs were given extremely generous offers of a state on Israel’s land numerous times throughout the past 75 years (including in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2014). Each time, the Arabs rejected a state and instead went to war to destroy Israel or began another Intifada to murder and maim thousands of Israelis.

And that’s not all.

Schumer also overstated Hamas’ inflated Gazan casualties as “immense.” Wharton and other statisticians have shown that the Hamas figures are grossly exaggerated. Schumer also falsely demanded that Israel “must prioritize the protection of civilian casualties when identifying military targets.” No international law requires prioritizing civilians of an enemy in war time.

In fact, Israel carefully follows international law for every operation, which requires weighing the prospective military advantage against the potential expected casualties. Israel often calls off important operations when expected casualties may be too high. Many Israeli soldiers have died as a result of Israel’s care in preserving civilians. Prof. John Spencer of West Point and Britain’s esteemed Col. Richard Kemp this week stated that no army in history has done more to protect enemy civilians than Israel. And these Gazan civilians are not so innocent—they elected Hamas and 72%-85% of them support and praise the October 7th massacre, rape, murder, torture of innocent Jews. Thousands went into the streets of Gaza cheering and handing out candy. Even the nurses and doctors in the Gazan hospitals joined in.

Israel’s protection of civilians is so exemplary that despite Hamas using civilians as human shields, the number and ratio of Gazan civilians killed (approximately one civilian casualty for each of the 13,000 terrorists killed) is the lowest in the history of warfare.

Schumer also outrageously libeled Israel by falsely claiming that “so many Jews” are “horrified” by “our sense that Israel is falling short of upholding these distinctly Jewish values that we hold so dear” of protecting human life. And Schumer even claimed that due to “far-right extremists in his coalition,” Netanyahu is “too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza.” We gasped when we heard that last outrageous libel.

“So many Jews” are actually horrified that Schumer is libeling Israel’s excellent record of preserving and protecting civilians.

Schumer also portrayed Israel’s efforts in Gaza as motivated by “revenge,” “anger” and “trauma” – instead of acknowledging that Israel’s sole, rational motivations are protecting Israeli citizens from the Hamas terror army that vows to launch more October 7ths, and bringing the hostages home.

Schumer also referred to a “cycle of bloodshed and revenge” – a misleading, morally-deficient phrase that equates Palestinian Arab terror attacks with Israel’s efforts to stop those terror attacks.

In addition to libeling Israel’s leadership, the peaceful Jews living in Judea/Samaria, and Israel’s law-abiding efforts to stop the vicious Hamas terror army that vows to destroy Israel, Schumer downplayed the daily horrors perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority. For instance, Schumer merely stated that the PA “incites instability through the martyr payment system.” Schumer did not explain that the PA’s “martyr payment system” refers to the PA’s payment of $400 million per year of reward payments and pensions to Arab terrorists to murder Jews. These PA “pay to slay” have resulted in Arabs murdering scores of Jews, and daily terror attacks on Jews in Judea-Samaria and elsewhere in Israel. “Pay to slay” is one of the most serious obstacles to peace. The Palestinian regime even paid the Hamas murderers of 10-7 lifetime pensions.

Schumer’s speech also employed serious falsehoods to promote his dangerous Palestinian state agenda.

First, Schumer claimed that only a “minority of Palestinians [] support Hamas and demonstrate other forms of extremism.” In fact, the Palestinian Center for Policy Survey and Research (PCPSR) December 2023 poll revealed that 72% of Palestinians support Hamas’ October 7th attack on Israeli civilians; 70% of West Bank Palestinians support “armed struggle” against Israel; 60% of Palestinian Arabs want Hamas to remain in control of Gaza after the war; 85% of West Bank Palestinians support Hamas role during the war; and 81% support Yahya Sinwar’s role (the mastermind of the October 7 atrocities).

Second, Schumer falsely claimed that “on the Palestinian side,” former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad is “a model of responsible leadership.” In fact, Fayyad recently stated that his longstanding and current view is that the PLO/PA (which the U.S. is promoting to rule both Gaza and Judea/Samaria) must be expanded to include Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad! And that the PA/PLO cannot rule Gaza unless it includes Hamas and PIJ. Also, just three weeks ago, Fayyad praised Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva as an “international hero” for libelously accusing Israel of committing atrocities that haven’t been seen since Hitler killed the Jews.

Fayyad’s “responsible leadership” also included sponsoring PA summer camps where children’s groups are named after leading Palestinian Arab terrorists including Dalal Mughrabi (who murdered 37 Jews including 12 Jewish children); calling for boycotting Israeli goods; ignoring Israeli sovereignty and organizing massive Palestinian construction projects on Israeli state lands; calling for the mass release of convicted Palestinian Arab terrorists/murderers from Israeli jails; and comparing Israel’s security fence (needed to stop thousands of Palestinian terror attacks on Israel) to the Berlin Wall.

Schumer could point to no other allegedly peaceful Palestinian Arab leaders. Notably, the PCPSR December 2023 poll found that Palestinian Arabs’ most-favored candidates to replace Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority are, first, convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti (who is serving five life sentences in Israel for murdering Jews) and second, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Schumer’s false praise of Fayyad as a “model of responsible leadership” is especially concerning because Fayyad is reportedly a candidate for ruler of Gaza and/or a senior position in the U.S.-planned “renewed” Palestinian Authority.

Third, Schumer insulted every Jew and the Jewish faith itself, by impugning the motives for Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av last year. Jews visit the Temple Mount because it is the Jewish people’s holiest site. It is where the Jewish Temples stood for approximately 1,000 years, and where Jews from throughout the land made pilgrimages three times every year. Tisha B’Av – which commemorates the destruction of the Temples – is a prime day for visiting the Temple Mount. Solomon constructed the Temple on the Temple Mount to be a place of prayer for all nations. And Ben G’vir visited the Temple Mount as an act of love and unity, saying “On this day, at this place, it is important to always remember – we are all brothers. Right, left, religious, secular.”

Yet, Schumer ignored all this, and instead claimed that Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount was “a move only intended to antagonize the Muslim population” and “a brazen show of force towards Palestinians.” Doesn’t Schumer believe that Jews, too, have a right to pray on Judaism’s holiest site?

Schumer also claimed that “during this current conflict, [Ben Gvir] has facilitated the mass distribution of guns to far-right settlers, exacerbating instability, fueling violence.” In fact, the daily violence comes from the Palestinian Arabs. The few guns in the hands of Jews living in Judea/Samaria are needed for self-protection. For instance, when three Arab terrorists recently ran down the road between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem, shooting, killing and wounding Jews sitting in their cars who were stuck in a traffic jam, armed civilians helped stop the terrorists’ deadly shooting spree.

Fourth, Schumer also wrongly claimed that Arabs would outnumber and outvote Jews in a one-state solution – a claim based on fraudulent demographic data. In his zeal to promote a Palestinian terror state, Schumer also ignored other alternative proposals, such as former Ambassador David Friedman’s recent sovereignty/peace plan.

It is also remiss that Schumer spent so much time leveling false accusations at Israelis, while failing to name Iran as the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

We hope and pray that Majority Leader Schumer will reconsider and retract his dangerous statements, and live up to being a Shomer Israel.

Morton A. Klein is president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).