Senate Dem Leader Schumer sharply criticized for 'election interference' speech demanding removal from power of Israeli PM Netanyahu

 March 16, 2024

For all of the hyperbole and rhetoric from Democrats over the past eight years about the danger to democracy of foreign interference in domestic elections, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appears to be guilty of that which he and his party have so loudly and frequently condemned.

On Thursday, Schumer delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor in which he urged Israel to swiftly hold new elections and remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, according to Fox News.

The New York senator's overt meddling in the domestic political affairs of an allied nation did not go unnoticed and earned Schumer sharp criticism on social media for his apparent effort to influence and interfere with Israel's elections.

Schumer calls for ouster of Netanyahu

In his Senate speech, which also called for Palestinian statehood, Sen. Schumer named Prime Minister Netanyahu as one of four main obstacles to peace and progress and a "two-state solution," lumping the Israeli leader in with Israel's "radical right-wing," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas terrorist organization and its supporters.

"Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take the precedence over the best interests of Israel," Schumer declared at one point, and at another asserted that new elections in Israel, with Netanyahu presumably being removed from power, were "the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel."

Schumer further alleged that Netanyahu had aligned himself "in coalition with far-right extremists" and was "too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows," as the Senate leader warned that "Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah" with Netanyahu remaining in charge.

Schumer's remarks trashed as "outrageously inappropriate"

Sen. Schumer's remarks were sharply criticized, including most notably by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog, who said in an X post, "Israel is a sovereign democracy. It is unhelpful, all the more so as Israel is at war against the genocidal terror organization Hamas, to comment on the domestic political scene of a democratic ally. It is counterproductive to our common goals."

That message from the Israeli ambassador was shared by political analyst Josh Kraushaar, who observed, "When Schumer gives a generally pro-Israel speech but gives it mainly to attack Bibi (for domestic political reasons) and loses the Israeli Ambassador…. It shows how incoherent the Dem party’s Israel messaging is."

Columnist David Marcus said of the Democratic senator's speech, "This is outrageously inappropriate. Why on earth would any nation want to be an ally of the US today? We treat them far worse than our enemies." That post from Marcus was shared by National Review writer Dan McLaughlin, who noted, "Funny how Schumer isn't calling for new elections to replace the leadership of China or Iran."

"This is election interference"

Sen. Schumer's commentary was also thoroughly condemned by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who wrote, "This is one of the most disgusting speeches ever given in the Senate. 1) Senators don’t get to pick who foreign democracies elect. This is election interference. 2) Schumer doesn’t understand how Israel is united to destroy Hamas. It’s bigger than Bibi."

In response to Fleischer's post, former CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller astutely wondered, "Would Schumer still feel that way if his relatives were still held by Hamas?"

Finally, political commentator Marc Thiessen shared Kraushaar's post about Schumer's speech and hypothesized, "Imagine a foreign politician calling on the U.S. to dump Bush a few months after 9/11," to which Kraushaar aptly replied, "Or even during the more polarizing war in Iraq…"

Schumer's walk-back begins

Fox News reported that it reached out to Sen. Schumer's office for comment about the pushback he had received over his speech demanding the removal from power of Israeli PM Netanyahu, but no response was given for that request.

It would appear, however, that some of the critiques reached Schumer's ear, as he later posted what looks to be an attempted clean-up and walk-back of his controversial remarks as he said, "The U.S. cannot dictate the outcome of an election. That is for the Israeli public to decide. As a democracy, Israel has the right to choose its own leaders. But the important thing is that Israelis are given a choice. There needs to be a fresh debate about the future.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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