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Former Amb. Friedman: Schumer’s speech ‘a desecration’

The White House pursues Muslim votes, David Friedman said.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Source: Screenshot.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Source: Screenshot.

Former U.S. Ambassador David Friedman handed the Biden administration a failing grade for its steadily eroding support for Israel since the Oct. 7 atrocities, and reserved especially sharp words for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking during an interview on Israeli TV on Monday.

Schumer made headlines on March 14 when, from the floor of the U.S. Senate, he called Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an obstacle to peace for not supporting a two-state solution, grouping him with the terrorist group Hamas, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and “radical right-wing Israelis.”

Asked by Channel 14 interviewer Libi Alon what he thought of Schumer’s speech, Friedman said, “I’ll say it in the words that your audience will understand. It was a chilul Hashem [a desecration of God’s name.]”

Schumer opened his remarks with a refrain he often uses when speaking about Israel, referring to the fact that his last name derives from the Hebrew word shomer, or “guardian,” and that he thinks of himself as a guardian of the Jewish people.

Friedman said, “It was horrible for a Jewish person who claims to be, you know, the great Jewish protector in the United States government of Israel, for him to say that.”

Worse than accusing Netanyahu

The former ambassador said that Schumer did something still worse than accusing Netanyahu of blocking peace efforts.

“What he said is that if Israel doesn’t conduct the war the way he wants, he’s going to force Israel to do what he wants,” Friedman said. “For him to threaten Israel … There are no words. It was disgusting.”

Schumer had said, “If Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current coalition remains in power after the war begins to wind down, and continues to pursue dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing U.S. standards for assistance, then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.”

Schumer also advised Netanyahu to eject from his coalition National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, whom Schumer labeled the “worst examples” of right-wing “radicalism.”

“Of course, the United States cannot dictate the outcome of an election, nor should we try. That is for the Israeli public to decide—a public that I believe understands better than anybody that Israel cannot hope to succeed as a pariah opposed by the rest of the world,” the senator said.

Schumer’s speeches were widely condemned in Israel by both sides of the political aisle. Centrist U.S. Jewish groups also criticized the his remarks.

Of the Biden administration, Friedman said that it has made many mistakes as it increasingly distances itself from Israel’s war effort, demanding it weaken its military offensive.

When Hamas’s leadership hears the U.S. putting pressure on Israel, it thinks that maybe it can win, that perhaps it can raise the price for the hostages, Friedman said. He called President Joe Biden’s approach “extraordinarily harmful to Israel.”

“It’s just been getting worse and worse over the last couple of months,” he said.

Those calling for a two-state solution should view Gaza as “a dry run,” he said. Gaza was 100% Palestinian Arab and flooded with financial assistance with which it built 350 miles of terror tunnels. “So you can’t make the mistake twice. We know how this will end. It will end with another terrorist state,” he said.

Asked whether he thinks the Biden administration understands the danger, Friedman said, “I think they understand that. I don’t think they care. Because I think what they care about right now are votes—votes in places like Michigan and Minnesota, and other places where there are Arab populations.”

Those populations are small but concentrated and could swing important states in the coming U.S. election, he said.

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