Steven Saks

An Open Letter to Senator Schumer

Dear Senator Schumer,

Your comments regarding the Israeli government were shocking in light of the fact you have a strong record of supporting Israel. Your remarks, which amounted to a call for regime change are the type of remarks that one would expect to be aimed at a despotic regime such as Iran, not a longstanding ally and democracy. Clearly, your call for the new leadership in Israel has backfired. Even many of those in Israel who loath Netanyahu have expressed outrage that an official from another country would make such an assertion.  If anything, Israelis are now more likely to rally around their leader who was condemned by the highest ranking Jews to ever serve in the United States government. 

Furthermore, your words will only elongate the suffering of the Palestinian people by encouraging Hamas to continue to fight on, in hopes that the United States will abandon Israel. Recent history has shown that the plight of the Palestinian people cannot be improved as long as Hamas rules Gaza. Hamas must be defeated just as the Nazis were, then and only then,  can peace be possible. 

While I readily agree that there are a small number of unsavory extremists in the Israeli government’s ruling coalition one must keep in mind that those who live in glass houses should not cast stones. Just as the Republican party has unsavory extremists within its ranks, so does the Democratic party.  Members of the so called “squad” have repeatedly made hate-filled comments including anti-semitic ones. Despite this, these offending members of Congress have faced minimal internal pushback from their party and at times have even received financial support from its leadership. On the other hand, those Democrats who condemned your statement are to be lauded for their courage and moral clarity.

I truly hope that you publicly announce that you have come to the realization that your remarks were misguided and counterproductive. The moral clarity with which you have spoken with in the past on this issue is missed and sorely needed. Senator Schumer, as the highest ranking Jew to ever serve in the United States government, it is your responsibility to ensure that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish state in its battle against a threat that poses a danger to peace-loving people around the world. 


Rabbi Steven Saks

Spiritual Leader, Congregation Sons of Israel, Woodmere, NY

About the Author
Rabbi of Sons of Israel, Woodmere NY. Vice President of Morasha Rabbinical Fellowship (affiliated with the Union for Traditional Judaism). Served as president of the Rabbinical Association of Delaware.