Schumer considered calling for Netanyahu’s resignation but ‘didn’t want to tell Israel what to do’

Senator Schumer decided he couldn’t just call for a policy change, but had to focus directly on Netanyahu himself as ‘the fount of the problems.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

After calling for new elections in Israel to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jewish Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told The New York Times he wanted to go further and call for Netanyahu’s resignation, but rejected the idea “because that would be telling Israel what to do.”

The NYT interview focused on Schumer’s Jewish upbringing in Brooklyn before the senator zeroed in on the subject of his highly controversial speech.

Schumer didn’t suddenly write the speech because he grew impassioned over recent developments in the war, but had planned to deliver the demand for new Israeli elections two months ago.

Schumer decided he couldn’t just call for a policy change, but had to focus directly on Netanyahu himself as “the fount of the problems.”

“To just go for policy changes — I thought it wouldn’t pierce, it wouldn’t do anything,” he said.

Schumer’s main issue was how far he should go in calling out Israel’s Prime Minister.

“I wrestled with myself — maybe I should say Bibi should step down,” Mr. Schumer said.

However, he reconsidered, “That is telling Israel what to do, and it’s in the middle of a war.”

Schumer continued, “Bibi could prevent any election until 2026.”

“I worry under his leadership, Israel would become such a pariah in the world and even in the United States, because I look at the numbers and they’re rapidly decreasing. I had to speak out before it erodes,” he explained.

“Without American support, he added, Israel’s “future could well be over.”

The White House wasn’t informed that the Senate Majority Leader was going to demand that a head of state of an ally nation should be voted out of office.

A former aide, Stu Loeser, wasn’t surprised that Schumer worked on the speech alone.

“When it’s Jewish, he does it himself,” said Stu Loeser.

“On this stuff, he is his own best adviser. He is in many ways postwar American Jewry incarnate,” he added.

Before delivering the speech, Senator Schumer consulted with Rabbi Rachel Timoner, who leads Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope where he attends synagogue.

Nathan Diament, the executive director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America previously had a friendly relationship with Senator Schumer and said he was “stunned” by the speech.

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“The speech was startling, precisely because of his position and his record as a decades-long leading supporter of Israel in a very high-ranking position,” Mr. Diament said.

Diament said he found it particularly troubling that Schumer put Netanyahu on the same list as Hamas as two of the four biggest obstacles to peace in the Middle East.