Schumer warns ‘antisemites are taking advantage’ of pro-Palestinian effort

Nov 29, 2023 | Read Now, Voices

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned Wednesday that the recent rise in antisemitism across the country is leaving Jewish Americans to feel “left alone,” and that antisemites are “taking advantage of the pro-Palestinian movement to espouse hatred and bigotry toward Jewish people.”

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“I am speaking up to issue a warning informed by lessons of history, too often forgotten,” said Schumer, who is Jewish. “No matter where we stand on the war in Gaza, all of us must condemn antisemitism with full-throated clarity wherever we see it before it metastasizes into something even worse.”

During a 40-minute speech on Nov. 29, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) added that the threat of rising antisemitism was a crisis. (Video: The Washington Post)

Schumer listed attacks on Jewish people throughout history: from ancient attacks in Egypt through the Nazi regime in World War II, the 1972 killings and kidnappings of Israelis at the Munich Olympics to an event last week at Hillcrest High School in Queens, where students targeted a Jewish teacher. That teacher, whom Schumer declined to name, was in the Senate chamber for the speech at the majority leader’s invitation. “I am truly honored that she accepted my invitation,” Schumer said. “That is true courage.”

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“At a time when white supremacists and white nationalists take advantage of this moment to sow confusion and promote antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism, misstating what antisemitism is harms all of our work for justice and endangers our communities,” Fox said in a statement to The Washington Post. “This is reprehensible.”

Notably, Schumer cautioned in his speech that “many” of the people expressing antisemitism in America were “people that most liberal Jewish Americans felt previously were their ideological fellow travelers.” After referring to protests against violence directed toward Black, Hispanic, and Asian people, as well as members of the LGBTQ community, Schumer said that “in the eyes of some, that principle does not extend to the Jewish people.”

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On the Senate floor, Schumer said that his “heart breaks for the thousands of Palestinian civilians who have been killed or are suffering in this conflict.” But the ultimate blame, he said, belonged with Hamas, which “knowingly invited an immense civilian toll during this war.”

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