Foreign Interference, Much? Chuck Schumer Calls for New Elections in Israel | TOWNHALL

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Foreign Interference, Much? Chuck Schumer Calls for New Elections in Israel | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by Rebecca Downs  for TOWNHALL.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the Senate floor on Thursday for a “major address” on the Israel-Hamas war. While he gave a passionate and well-received speech late last November acknowledging the left and the rise of antisemitism, gone was the message that could resonate with all sides. Instead, Schumer criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, going so far as to call for new elections to be held in a foreign country as he claimed that the prime minister has “lost his way.”

“The U.S. Government should demand that Israel conduct itself with a future two-state solution in mind. We should not be forced into a position of unequivocally supporting the actions of an Israeli government that includes bigots who reject the idea of a Palestinian state,” Schumer said.

“Five months into this conflict, it is clear that Israelis need to take stock of the situation and ask, must we change course? At this critical juncture, I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel. At a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government. I also believe a majority of the Israeli public will recognize the need for change, and I believe that holding a new election, once the war starts to wind down, would give Israelis an opportunity to express their vision for the post-war future,” he insisted in his scolding speech aimed at America’s ally.

Schumer phrased such consequential remarks as “I believe,” though without proper citations when speaking about the Israeli people. Further, such comments do not get into the uncomfortable details about how we get to a point of “once the war starts to wind down,” especially since it is Hamas’ goal to eradicate Israel.

While Schumer added that “of course, the United States cannot dictate the outcome of an election, nor should we try,” his remarks still did enough damage. His comments about the matter being “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” didn’t bring much more comfort. Schumer also appeared to be buying into antisemitic and anti-Israel talking points when referring to Israel as “a pariah” that its enemies see it to be.

His continued comments about letting Israelis decide their elections thus also came off as insincere and full of pandering.

“There needs to be a fresh debate about the future of Israel after October 7,” Schumer continued. “In my opinion, that is best accomplished by holding an election.”

For all this talk of “let the chips fall where they may,” Schumer threatened further interference. “Now, 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,” he warned. 

There have already been reports about the Biden administration threatening to withhold aid, although such a move looks like it would lead to Democrats in disarray with opposition from at least Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA). 

“The United States’ bond with Israel is unbreakable, but if extremists continue to unduly influence Israeli power, then the administration should use the tools at its disposal to make sure support for Israel is aligned with our broader goal of achieving peace and stability in the region. I believe this would make a lasting two-state solution more likely,” the majority leader continued as he tried to speak to that “unbreakable” bond while still castigating its current leadership.

President Joe Biden himself has spoken out against Netanyahu, as he did last December when complaining about how Netanyahu’s government “is the most conservative government in Israel’s history” and “doesn’t want a two-state solution,” something that’s been a pipe-dream priority for the Biden administration

The Biden administration has also had issues with Netanyahu’s handling of the war, with President Joe Biden himself using bizarre phrasing to say the Jewish prime minister of the Jewish state needed to have “a come to Jesus moment.” There have also been previous reports about the Biden administration looking to pursue an ouster of Netanyahu. 

Democrats, though, appear to be getting bolder, especially given such a speech from Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in Congress who insisted in his speech that he has been “a lifelong supporter of Israel.”

Schumer met with Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz last week who was here on an unauthorized visit, as did Vice President Kamala Harris

Netanyahu has appeared clear-minded in his mission, and has also acknowledged that the fact Hamas hides behind civilians is “a strategy” for them while it is “a tragedy” for Israeli forces, who already take great care to minimize civilian casualties. Such efforts to get rid of the prime minister also appear to embolden him, as former Israeli Intelligence Official and regional analyst Avi Melamed previously told Townhall.

Reacting to remarks from Schumer, Melamed told Townhall that such a call “is the latest episode in the ongoing move by Biden, the U.S. Administration, and the Democratic party against Netanyahu, hoping that a new election and leadership in Israel will change the course of the war.”

He reminded that “Netanyahu has used every previous attempt by the U.S. President and Administration to further secure his government from fracture and preserve his legacy as the defender of Israel, while also harming his challengers, and he will likely do so again here. Netanyahu has in many ways already successfully recharacterized the dispute between him and Biden as not between the two leaders but rather between Biden and the People of Israel’s right to self-determination and homeland security,” adding “this statement by Schumer will likely be spun in the same vein.”

A poll from The Israel Democracy Institute found that 75 percent of Jewish Israelis and 65 percent of Israelis overall support the IDF operation targeting Hamas in Rafah, which the Biden administration has expressed concern with. “Whether Netanyahu or any future successor serves as the country’s prime minister, there is a strong consensus among Israel’s Jewish citizens who will demand the eventual assault on Rafah to ensure that Israel’s goals for its war in Gaza – the return of all the hostages and the ending of Hamas’s reign of terror – are completed,” Melamed added.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Schumer’s speech on antisemitism, he had strong condemnation on this speech to do with Israel, pointing out that “the Jewish state of Israel deserves an ally that acts like one,” and “the people of Israel, at home and in captivity, deserve America’s support.”

Pointing out that Israel currently has a unity government, McConnell also mentioned that they “deserve the deference befitting a sovereign, democratic country.”

“It is grotesque and hypocritical for Americans who hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of the democratically elected leader of Israel,” McConnell went on to say, as he slammed Schumer’s display as “unprecedented,” making clear “we should not treat fellow democracies this way at all.”

“Things that upset left-wing activists are not a prime minister’s policies — they are Israel’s policies. Make no mistake — the Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-Bibi problem. It has an anti-Israel problem,” McConnell rightly pointed out.

The Republican leader proceeded to issue a clear admonition about getting involved in foreign elections. “Israel is not a colony of America whose leaders serve at the pleasure of the party in power in Washington. Only Israel’s citizens should have a say in who runs their government. This is the very definition of democracy and sovereignty,” he offered. “Either we respect their decisions, or we disrespect their democracy.”

Foreign Interference, Much? Chuck Schumer Calls for New Elections in Israel | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by Rebecca Downs  for TOWNHALL.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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