In a play on his name and ostensibly pro-Israel bent, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, has often noted the similarity between his last name and the Hebrew word shomer which translates as guardian. So, for him and some others, the highest ranking Jewish-American federal elected official ever, became the Shomer Yisrael, or guardian of Israel. Of course, he probably was and perhaps still is, unaware that “Shomer Yisrael” appears as a description of G-d in Tehillim (121). Indeed, that level of presumption would doubtless have been beyond the pale for most anyone. However, at all events, we suggest that in the light of Schumer’s now notorious betrayal of Israel last week, shamer of Israel is appropriate for pointing to partial similarity.

On Thursday, in a speech Sen. Schumer delivered on the Senate floor, things went haywire with the guardianship, taking a nasty and decidedly dangerous turn. He went public with a call for new Israeli elections in order to cast out Prime Minister Netanyahu and the right-wingers in his government over their alleged failure to meet their responsibilities to protect Palestinian civilians in the war against Hamas, and to provide them with adequate food and other necessities. He referred to them, Hamas and PA President Mahmoud Abbas collectively as “obstacles to peace.” And President Biden promptly chimed in with “that was a really good speech.”


Actually, several days before the speech earlier in this space, we expressed our sense of foreboding that we seemed to be “on the cusp of a major break between Israel and the United States. We noted that President Biden – who for a time following October 7 was robustly supportive of Israel’s goal of rooting out Hamas, began to speak as if he were literally forbidding Israel from taking some decisive actions against Hamas because of rising civilian casualties and shortages of food for them – he spoke of “red lines.” He insisted that before going further against Hamas in any significant way, Israel had to provide a workable plan – somehow deemed acceptable to the U.S. – that would protect civilians and ensure that they would get fed.

Not only did this posit that Israel was seriously remiss in these areas in the past but they were also reminiscent of the worst “war crimes” and “international law violations” allegations much of the Arab world and UN have directed Israel’s way since October 7.

So, in seeking to dictate to Israel, a fellow democracy, as to the leadership it had duly chosen, the Schumer speech and the Biden amen were much more than just unseemly and unwarranted insults to its sovereignty. They also amounted to what is essentially an indictment of Israel that would give ammunition to the growing chorus in Congress which seeks to estrange Israel from the U.S. and to complicate America’s ability to effectively stand up for Israel in the “fixed” deliberations of the United Nations. And this is to say nothing of its likely fueling the already rampant anti-Semitism unleashed by the Gaza war.

And this is all despite the President’s having noted in the past that Hamas stole foodstuffs that did reach Gaza, Palestinian civilians have long been exploited as human shields driving up casualty numbers and members of his national security team have conceded that the IDF routinely takes precautions to avoid harm to civilians beyond what any military ever did or now does.

We respectfully suggest that the President and the Majority Leader need to kick back and contemplate the pandora’s box they have now opened and address it. There is no time like a presidential campaign to provide useful context.

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