Gary Epstein
And now for something completely different . . .

Treachery, Thy Name is Schumer


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I am going to share a secret. Occasionally–not too often–I discuss with my wife the topic about which I plan to write. She usually just listens, content to serve as a sounding board until some product actually emerges. Then–not occasionally, but always–I show her the first or second draft of what I have written. She corrects typos, suggests that I might have been redundant in a place or two, and is generally encouraging. Sometimes she says, “You can’t say that.” So I don’t say that.

This week I told her what I was planning to write about Chuck Schumer. So I am going to write something else about Chuck Schumer.

But I urge you, dear reader, let your febrile imagination run free. Know no restraint.  No matter what comes to mind, what I was going to say was undoubtedly worse and in poorer taste. So thank you for doing my work for me. And thanks to Ahuva for looking out for my reputation and the shiduchin of my grandchildren.

So how to convey the utter contempt with which this man is to be viewed?

In Jewish lore, there is an afterlife, during which we can benefit from the beatific vision and bask in the holy presence of God. In some very rare cases, one may lose his or her right to share in the world to come. Also, for a period of up to eleven months, people may be denied entry to paradise, and exist in a kind of limbo, to atone for sins committed during their lifetimes.  

We don’t really have an artistic, graphic, terrifying, visual concept of Hell. We don’t know what it looks like. No sinners in the hands of an angry god, no hellfire and brimstone, no eternal damnation. No right panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delight.

We only know that if there is one, it is waiting for Chuck Schumer.

Somehow the betrayals of Joe Biden, while sickening, seem less offensive. We never fully believed him anyway. We knew that he would follow his base political instincts and his progressive masters. But Schumer pretended so well to be one of us. He was family. On a day when Biden begged for an audience with CAIR, so he could grovel further, and released $10 billion to Iran, and sanctioned Jews but not jihadis as terrorists, it was Schumer calling for regime change in Israel that stands out for its utter perfidy.

When a person like Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in the US, betrays his people, knowing full well that antisemitism is rampant throughout the world, Israel is in dire straits, and his every word places Jews and their homeland in additional existential danger, we must seek elsewhere for literary paradigms.

I choose Dante. 

For those of you who haven’t read The Inferno, Dante divides Hell into nine circles and then further divides the deepest, lowest, ninth, circle into four parts. The ninth circle is a frozen wasteland presided over by Satan himself and occupied by history’s greatest traitors.

Yes, Dante reserves the 9th circle of the Inferno for those who commit treachery.  Come right in, Chuck. You have found your rightful place.

But which section? The first section is reserved for traitors to the family, like Cain who killed his brother. You would fit in here well, especially since your words will give comfort and cover to those who murder your brethren. However, the other sections may suit you better. The next section, for example, is for political and national traitors, people who betray their loyalties and beliefs for political gains.  We could rename it The Schumer Room.

Oh, my! The next section is possibly even more relevant; it is for hosts who betray their guests, personified by Ptolemy, who invited Simon Maccabee and his sons to dinner, only to poison them. Dante placed this level of Hell so low because he had nothing but contempt for people who pretended friendship, but committed treachery. Once again, we could endow a permanent Schumer Chair for this room.

The final circle is for Judas, who betrayed his people and his god. No discussion necessary.

So many choices for you, Chuck. And all of them are suitable. Your perfidy is so multi-faceted, your duplicity so nauseating, your character so repulsive. You have professed friendship and love for Israel, only to abandon her when your internal political radar, so instinctive in you, told you that your left flank was threatened by the populist crazies. You always know which way the political winds are blowing, whether threatening the lives of Supreme Court justices, or knifing your people in the back. You may not claim ignorance, like AOC or Chris Van Hollen or Summer Lee or Cory Bush or Jamaal Bowman. You were Mr. AIPAC. You wore your Jewish heart on your sleeve. You cried crocodile tears for your people.

You have been to Israel many times. You led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Israel after the Hamas massacre that killed 1,200 Israelis. You mouthed all the right words. You understand the delicate, dangerous situation in which Israel has always existed, and the even more fraught, distressing conditions that have prevailed since October 7.

You know that there is no meaningful support in Israel any more for a two-state solution, and certainly not one in which Hamas escapes destruction and survives to carry out its barbaric, genocidal program in the future. You know that grouping Netanyahu together with three other stumbling blocks to a  two-state solution and peace–Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, and ”radical right-wing Israelis”– is demagoguery, sophistry, and meretricious garbage. How about Iran? How about the Palestinian people who overwhelmingly support Hamas?

Putting aside the treachery against and betrayal of your coreligionists, your interference in the internal politics of a democratic ally is both outrageous and disgusting. Said Mitch McConnell, “It is grotesque and hypocritical for Americans who hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of a democratically elected leader of Israel. This is unprecedented. We should not treat fellow democracies this way at all.”


So we have Dante and Mitch McConnell, and my wife won’t let me articulate what I truly wish would happen to Chuck Schumer (and what he so richly deserves).

So, apropos of nothing in particular, I am just going to end with ten of my favorite yiddish curses.

Zolst vaksen vie a tsibbeleh, mit dein kup in die erd–You should grow like an onion, with your head in the ground.

Zolst hubben a kramp in di kishkes–You should have cramps in your bowels.

Eyn inglick is far im veynig–One misfortune is too few for him.

Zol es im onkumm vos ich vinsch im–May what I wish for him come true.

Zol er krenken un gedenken–Let him suffer and think (about his suffering).

Gut zol oyf im onshikn fun di tsen makkes di beste–God should inflict upon him the best of the Ten Plagues.

A hiltsener tsung zol er bakumn–He should grow a wooden tongue.

A kleyn kind zol nokh im heysn–A young child should be named after him. (You might need to think about this one.)

Ale tseyner zoln bay im aroysfaln, not eyner zol im bleyben oyf tsonveytung–All his teeth should fall out, except one to make him suffer.

Zayn mazl zol im lichten vi de levone in soif khoydesh–His luck should be as bright as a new moon.

Now let me see if I can get these past the lovely censor.

About the Author
Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi'in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka"h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.
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