On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stood on the House floor and rebuked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s claim that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood.” The outrageous comments prompted Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish American elected official, to decry Lavrov’s words as anti-Semitic and “particularly disgusting.” It’s not surprising that a Russian official’s anti-Semitism would anger Schumer. Yet it remains difficult to digest the senator’s anger without recognizing a degree of phoniness attached to his indignation. If anti-Semitism truly sickens Schumer, the senator should start protecting the Jews in his home state.
In April, the Anti-Defamation League released a report that showed New York led the country last year in anti-Semitic incidents. In 2021, there were 51 anti-Semitic assaults reported in the state, “representing a staggering 325% increase relative to the 12 assaults recorded in 2020.” In one incident, a person screamed anti-Semitic slurs while throwing fireworks at a group of Jewish teenagers. In another, Orthodox Jewish children in Brooklyn faced a series of attacks that included slaps and harassment.
All Schumer could muster in response to the violence was a weak-kneed tweet asking New Yorkers to “stand together against the forces of hate.” The senator has also refused to directly denounce Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota for her anti-Semitic invectives. And earlier this year, Schumer endorsed “his friend and partner,” anti-Israel Squad member New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, for reelection.
Schumer is not the only New York Democrat helping to foment the current rise in anti-Semitism. During the COVID-19 pandemic, disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration — which included now Gov. Kathy Hochul — repeatedly singled out ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods for defying lockdowns. Cuomo stated unequivocally that the “religious practices” of Orthodox Jews were contributing to the spread of COVID.
Prior to that unsavory language, Democratic New York lawmakers conveniently ignored and even praised the violent and law-breaking Black Lives Matter protests in New York City. Even New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy had the decency to reserve his calls disavowing “knucklehead” behavior regarding COVID-19 for intoxicated revelers rather than a sect of religious Jewry.
Many Jewish Democrats fail to draw a connection between their party’s governance and the dramatic spike in anti-Semitism. Yet former centrist Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, who is Jewish, refused as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to remove Omar from the committee after her anti-Semitic smears. Today, Omar serves as vice-chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Africa. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, has repeatedly said he would oust Omar from the subcommittee if the GOP retook the House.
Newly retired Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey was similarly hailed as a “pro-Israel” stalwart. However, in David Friedman’s new book Sledgehammer, the former U.S ambassador to Israel under President Donald Trump recalls how Lowey looked him in the eyes and said, “Promise me you won’t move the embassy to Jerusalem.”
Hochul’s plummeting approval numbers portend promising possibilities for the GOP. A poll conducted before the arrest of disgraced former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin shows presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin in a statistical tie with Hochul. Three out of five Democrat-inspired ballot proposals, which included the loosening of same-day voting laws, were rejected last November. And sensing a brewing Republican advantage, Democrats in the legislature passed a congressional district map that would have placed several Republican house seats in jeopardy. Yet last month, the state’s highest court correctly ruled that the newly apportioned map is unconstitutional. On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a further attempt by Democrats to reinstate the illegal gerrymander in Manhattan.
The continued promotion of Democratic lawmakers who accommodate anti-Semitism borders on the bizarre. As writers Monica Crowley and Andrew Stein argued in the New York Post this, week, the “chosen people should choose another party.”
Irit Tratt is a freelance writer who resides in New York. Her work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Algemeiner, Jewish News Syndicate, and Israel Hayom.
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