Former New York State Assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism Dov Hikind, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about the political situation in the US, Biden losing support for Israel because of the upcoming elections, and antisemitism – can Jews walk freely in US streets, displaying Jewish symbols.

In the period immediately after the Hamas attack on October 7th Israelis were moved by a feeling that everything was put aside, and Israel and America, even Netanyahu and Biden, had become best friends.

Dov Hikind remembers those first days, “I looked at Biden and the things that he said and the fact that he came to Israel. I said, ‘Wow, wow,’ but things have changed. It's called elections in America. It's called Michigan. It's called Minnesota. It's about politics and that's a very dangerous game to play. When the people of Israel are faced with these challenges, this is real for Israel. Their goal is to destroy the Jewish people here in Israel, period. So you know Biden has to play politics, he wants to win the elections, I get that, but you can't do it on the back of the Jewish people.”

Hikind believes that “politics is a huge part of the US attitude to Israel, but there's no question about it. The Democratic party, the people who really dictate the direction of the Democratic party are the radicals in the Democratic party. There are quite a few of them. I mean you're possibly talking about dozens of individuals, members of Congress. We all know the names Taleb, Omar, AOC, but there are many others. The squad has more and more members. Those individuals really are the enemies of the Jewish people, the enemies of the State of Israel. So politics is a huge part of it as far as Biden is concerned, as far as Schumer is concerned.”

With regard to the Democratic party, Hikind insists that “it is not healthy for the Jewish people at this time. I don't tell people, ‘Change to becoming a Republican if you want to be a Democrat.’ I'm realistic, I did it, but you don't have to do it. But more than ever, you cannot vote for the Democratic party, not just for president, but also for the House. Just imagine if the Democrats win the House of Representatives, AOC will be in charge of the Foreign Affairs committee. That is not a joke; that is serious.”

In recent weeks, US Senator Chuck Schumer defined himself as the “shomer Yisrael,” the guardian of Israel, and spoke about his responsibility to protect the State of Israel. In response, Hikind says, “I know Schumer quite well. If for a single moment, I could believe that Schumer really meant what he said, you know he really cares. He cares about the Jewish people. That's what he said. He said this on the floor of the United States Senate, ‘that I am the shomer Yisrael [guardian of Israel], that's what the name ‘Schumer’ means. But it was pure unadulterated politics. When it comes to antisemitism, Schumer is an example, he's been out of control in the United States for the past four or five years. Schumer has been missing in action. You don't see him. You didn't find him.”

Hikind believes that Schumer, “Stabbed Israel in the back and it was purely unadulterated politics. You know people like Bernie Sanders, who I detest, he also says, ‘I'm a Jew.’ You know, I love how these people use their Jewishness when it fits their purpose. You wouldn't know there was anything Jewish about them, but when it fits their purpose, they're Jews. Schumer is a political animal. I know him well. He would sell his mother out for his political agenda, and that agenda was, ‘Biden.’ Plain and simple. It was all about the elections. Please, let no one think for a second that Schumer really meant it. Trust me, he may care about the state of Israel and the people of Israel, but this was pure unadulterated politics.”

As a former Democrat, who has moved over to the Republican party, Hikind feels that it is important and crucial for Israel who goes into the White House after the elections, “There's no question about that. Then again, we as Jews need to learn the lessons of history, that when we put our faith in an individual, that person is going to be the Messiah. Trump is not the Messiah. He was never the Messiah and he will not be the Messiah. I'm nervous about him, but if you look at the two candidates, what choice do you have? Between the two of them, one who can't walk a straight line and is busy undermining Israel and the other one, who in his first term was the best friend that Israel ever had in the White House. No question about that, but I'm very concerned. I'm very concerned about Trump. Some of the things that he's said recently in interviews here in Israel, with Israel Hayom. So, we have to make a choice. There's no one else. So, honestly, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for Trump.”

As the founder and head of Americans Against antisemitism, and with antisemitism on the rise Hikind is highly concerned about the leaders of the Jewish communities in the US. Hikind asks, “What leaders are you talking about? There are a lot of people with titles. There are a lot of Jewish organizations. We have more Jewish organizations than anyone can count. They spend a lot of money, but where are they? What are they doing? After October 7 the world changed. Antisemitism was out of control before October 7th, but since then literally every single day the Jewish communities in America are under attack. Is anybody aware of a plan on the part of any Jewish group, be it Aguda, be it the ADL, be it all the other organizations? What's the plan? How are you going to deal with it? Our enemies, the pro-Hamas people in America, are all over the place. They are organized. Every single day they are doing something out there. They're influencing the American people. There's no question about it. Where are we? We are sleeping. We are asleep. We're in trouble.”

Hikind recalls that “a local newspaper in New York asked me, who do you look to as the leader in America; the person that you know, you respect. Someone. I said you're not going to print what I'm going to tell you. I said I don't know. I have no idea. I couldn't think of a name and that's pretty sad. Again, I don't want to be misunderstood. We have a lot of people filled with Torah, a lot of intelligent people, but leaders, to direct the people in terms of how do we handle what's going on today?”

He relates the story of a real estate fair that was due to be held in Brooklyn, New York. “But,” he says, “they canceled it because they told the Rabbis that the police couldn't protect the community. This was a lie. It was canceled and guess what, I saw all the publicity from the Hamas supporters in America, that they got the Jews to back down. It empowers them. What a sad commentary. How embarrassing. How do you think Hashem feels about this? How do you think Hashem feels that when we the Jewish people, feel that we’re in exile, in galus, and we’ve got to be quiet? But you know what, we don't have to be stepped on. There are consequences when we do not do certain things; when we don't stand up. You’ve got to be a proud Jew. You have to be strong. You’ve got to be careful and you’ve got to be smart.”

Hikind says that “even before October 7th, people were afraid to walk with their kippot, to be seen Jewish. Now forget it; now people are afraid to walk the streets in America, even in the Jewish communities and they even take off a star of David, anything identifying. Women who wear a Star of David, don't do that. I've had people at my Shabbat table who told me when they go into Manhattan, they remove their yarmulka. This is America. This is the United States of America. People taking off their yarmulka.”

Hate is increasing in the world, and maybe there is no way to fight it, but people just have to learn to protect themselves.

Hikind claims that “There are people who are going to hate regardless. They don't want to know the facts. ‘Don't confuse me with the facts.’ But there are a lot of people in America; who watch CNN and so on, and they see these terrible pictures. There is an answer. Hasbara, information, emanating from this country is horrible. For all my life, that's all I've heard, that in terms of Israel how bad it is. Now more than ever, we need it. We don't have to be apologetic to anyone. There's no reason. The way Israel behaves is exemplary. No one does what Israel does. Yes, there are casualties, and people dying in Gaza. Okay, I don't celebrate that, that's not a good thing, but where do you put the blame, if that has not been done in the proper way? To say, ‘Look, we watch hospitals. We watch schools. We watch mosques and so on and so forth, that the civilian population of Gaza is being used as shields. Not enough has been done. We’re the Jewish people. We're smart. We’ve got the best minds in the world, and we can't come up with a strategy to address what's going on.”

Hikind believes, “Absolutely, all over the United States and all over Europe. If you want to demonstrate for what you call Palestine, that’s fine. You’re in America. You can do that, but when you go into the streets by the thousands, and you celebrate Hamas and you applaud what they did on October 7th. I was there in Kfar Aza a few days after what happened. I walked through houses. I avoided the blood on the floor, the dried blood on the floor. I was told house by house what happened to young girls in those homes and what happened to the parents while their daughters were being raped. So, I know. I was there. By the way, a new thing in America is denying that it even happened on October 7th and the question of whether Israel should do a lot more with regard to sharing with the world, not just with thousands of leaders, but finding a way to share with the average American, who really cares, to share with them, ‘Let me show you what they did to our daughters and our mothers and our children and our babies. More needs to be done and it's not being done at the present time.”

Despite the war, antisemitism, and hatred, Hikind still believes that “the people of Israel are amazing. The real Jewish leaders and the great Jews of the world, are all almost all here in Israel. Every soldier is a leader. Every soldier represents the Jewish people. I came here and I hope that I can stay here forever, but being here and walking the streets and talking to people, I am getting chizuk (strength) from the people of Israel because it could be very depressing, what's going on in the world. The people of Israel are beautiful. They're amazing and with all the challenges and the difficulties, we are the Jewish people. We should never forget that God is part of the equation. When you figure out, ‘We got this, we got this, we got f35s, we got FF50, remember it's difficult, it's tough. We can't figure out the thing that happened on October 7th. How could that happen, but at the end of the day we've got Hashem. We’ve got ourselves and we need to be united. Whatever conflicts exist in Israel, please put it off till after the war, for God's sake, because the people that celebrate any conflict in Israel, are the people of Hamas. They love it.”