• Schumer’s Peace

    March 17, 2024
    Senator Chuck Schumer.

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    “They have dressed the wound of my people with very little care, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace [at all]” -- Jeremiah 6:14, from a Hebrew translation.

    According to an AP report reprinted with some excisions in the Hartford Courant on March 15, 2024, “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday called on Israel to hold new elections, saying he believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ‘lost his way’ and is an obstacle to peace in the region amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

    “Schumer, the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S., strongly criticized Netanyahu in a 40-minute speech Thursday morning on the Senate floor. Schumer said the prime minister has put himself in a coalition of far-right extremists and as a result, he has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows.

    “’Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah,’ Schumer said.”

    Among its enemies, of course, Israel has been a pariah state ever since its inception in the modern period.

    The AP report notes that “Schumer has so far positioned himself as a strong ally of the Israeli government, visiting the country just days after the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and giving a lengthy speech on the Senate floor in December decrying ‘brazen and widespread anti-Semitism the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations in this country, if ever.’

    “But he said on the Senate floor Thursday that the ‘Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.’

    “Schumer says Netanyahu, who has long opposed Palestinian statehood, is one of several obstacles in the way of the two-state solution pushed by the United States. Netanyahu ‘has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel,’ Schumer said.”

    The full text of Schumer’s remarks calling for new elections in Israel that will lead to a replacement of Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel, Schumer hopes, was printed in full by the Times of Israel on March 15, 2024.

    The opening of Schumer’s remarks is significant, if embarrassingly self-important, because it invests Schumer with an air of authority as “a guardian of the people of Israel.”

    Addressing his colleagues in the U.S. Senate and, beyond them “friends” of Israel, Schumer rose “to speak today about what I believe can — and should — be the path forward to secure mutual peace and lasting prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”

    Schumer’s path to peace is remarkably well worn. Years ago when Joe Biden was Vice President during the administration of President Barack Obama, the president, hoping to derail the re-election of Netanyahu, sent his campaign professionals into Israel to aid Netanyahu’s opponent. Friends of Israel here in the United States concluded that Obama wished to shove Netanyahu from the political stage because he did not want loose tongues to jeopardize clandestine U.S. negotiations with Iran, now the principal deep-pocket supporter of anti-Israeli terrorist groups in the Middle East. Obama’s Iranian inducements included planeloads of cash delivered to Iran – without the approval of the U.S. Congress – under cover of darkness. Few Democrats at the time dared call it bribery.

    “I speak for myself,” Schumer declaimed, “but I also speak for so many mainstream Jewish Americans — a silent majority — whose nuanced views on the matter have never been well represented in this country’s discussions about the war in Gaza.”

    “My last name is Schumer, which derives from the Hebrew word Shomer, or ‘guardian.’ Of course, my first responsibility is to America and New York. But as the first Jewish Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in America ever, I also feel very keenly my responsibility as Shomer Yisroel — a guardian of the People of Israel.”

    And the guardianship of Israel can best be assured, Schumer insisted, by replacing Netanyahu as a Prime Minister of Israel at war with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Iran, a nation pledged to destroy Israel that has directed and financed the present expanded war on Israel.

    It remains to be seen whether Schumer – like Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, also Jewish and presumptively a friend of Israel – is a more faithful guardian of Israel than Netanyahu.

    There can be no doubt that Schumer and Blumenthal are faithful political water carriers for President Joe Biden, whose understanding of the history of Israel since the Israeli state was formed in 1948 is lacking in detail and less precise than that of Netanyahu and the Israeli military.

    Voices within the Democrat Party are hardly speaking in unison. Socialist Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, also Jewish, wishes to return Israel to its status quo ante before the assault on Israel on October 7, 2023 convinced some in the United States that Iran’s vision of a Middle East without the state of Israel has been put on a progressive path. Any successful military opposition to Iran and its terrorist helpmates might easily be portrayed by accomplished political rhetoricians – Sanders is one of these -- as needlessly violent and a blow to a “two state solution” that, largely because of Iranian opposition, has never and will never succeed. Sanders entered the U.S. Senate in2006, Schumer in 1999 but, in the matter of chutzpah, Sanders is by far the senior politician.

    To his credit, Schumer, in his unedited remarks, has plainly said that Hamas cannot be one of the states in any two-state solution, and he does manage properly to affix blame for the undoubted failure of a two-state solution squarely on Iran, the terrorists and, not mentioned, American leftist politicians seemingly unfamiliar with the last three decades of Middle East turmoil. It should be noted, however, that Schumer and Blumenthal have yet to launch any serious objection to Sander’s notion that the United States must immediately halt all aid to Israel until such time as prominent Israelis warmly embrace the failed two-state solution and immediately put a stop to their aggressive military maneuvers.

    No prominent American politician on the right has yet proposed that Israel should impose on Gaza a decades-long protectorate that will allow Gazans to develop organically in the absence of terrorist tunnels built under hospitals by Hamas terrorists and the pressure brought to bear upon them by its governing authority in league, as we all know, with Iran, whose leaders have yet to suffer any serious disappointments.

    Repeating the errors of the Obama administration, Biden has removed oil distribution sanctions imposed on Iran – far more lucrative than plane loads of cash – in hopes that the leaders of Iran, declared enemies of both Israel and the United States, will be brought to their knees by goodwill gestures.

    Biden is not a creative president, and the fog of war in the Middle East is far less foggy than the fog of an American election campaign. The “path forward” to a two-state solution, pursued unsuccessfully for decades by lovers of peace and prosperity in the United States, may have been a spectacular failure for all but Iran and the enemies of peace and prosperity in Gaza, but hope springs eternal, despite the prophetic warnings of Jeremiah, a prophet well acquainted with the deceptive actions of those who offer superficial solutions and false assurances, especially in the face of significant challenges.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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    Brent Beecham

    Shomer Israel? Laughable. American Jews have no right. Bibi may be tossed out at the end of this conflict but not a day before. Stunts like this make many who dislike Bibi support him, if only for a moment.

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