Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Schumer’s Choice

February 26, 2013 4:54 pm 6 comments

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: wiki commons.

In 2010 the late Mayor Ed Koch, a beloved leader in the Jewish Community, publicly asked “Where are the voices of Jewish members of Congress to protest President Obama’s hostility to Israel?” In so speaking he inspired this young novice to challenge the silence of a 29 year career politician.

Mayor Koch’s great legacy was not what he stood for — but how he stood — strong and fearless – unabashed — at times combative but always with great candor and conviction. It was not about party — but about city and country. It was about leading — educating — and fighting tenaciously for what he knew in his heart to be right.

He understood that his people and his country were inextricably bound by their shared values and love of freedom. He realized that the fate of the two nations would depend upon the ability of each generation to understand the nature and danger of tyranny — to clearly express it — and to have the character and resolve to defeat it.

His persona and his character were shaped during World War II. As a young infantryman he was deployed to a unit which liberated the Nordhausen/Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp in Germany. He witnessed firsthand the atrocities of the Holocaust Period – the great human toll that was extracted when leaders failed to confront evil head on — with clarity, consistency and strength.

He spoke of having encountered antisemitism while in the service. He knew the importance of truth and of combatting hate and intolerance with vigilance and consistency. He knew that words lead to actions — and that messages have consequences.

Now that he is gone it is up to the next generation of Jewish leaders to carry on.

Many were appalled at President Obama’s nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Hagel had long been criticized on both sides of the aisle for his extreme and controversial views on military and nuclear disarmament; his legitimization and appeasement of Iran and its terrorist surrogates and his lack of support for Israel. Democratic New York Congressman Eliot Engel characterized Hagel’s outlook as having “some kind of endemic hostility toward Israel.” It was widely commented that this nomination would send a wrong message to our friends and our foes at a critical time.

Just prior to his death, Mayor Koch expressed dismay with the nomination. In an interview with the editor of The Algemeiner, the Mayor explained :

“Frankly I thought that there would come a time when President Obama would renege on what he conveyed as his support for Israel – it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”

He believed “the appointment of Senator Hagel would “embolden Islamists and will be damaging to the U.S.-Israel relationship.” He stated “I believe it will encourage the Iranian program. I believe it will encourage the jihadists”.

In that same interview Mayor Koch went on to say that the senators from New York could determine the fate of this nomination. He said this was “a test for Chuck Schumer — where he stands and what he will say”.

One would have expected this to have been a “no-brainer” for Schumer. Referring to his last name — a “shomer” — in a heartwarming and dramatic speech before 2000 Jewish activists, the senator explained that he was “a watchman guarding the gates of ancient Jerusalem and the Temple. And that was his mission: defending the Jewish people and Israel from those who’d attack it or wish it ill.”

But rather than stand tall in the face of the Hagel nomination — the senior senator from New York and self-annointed guardian of the Jewish people shirked and spun. He almost immediately rubber stamped the nomination and encouraged his colleagues to do the same. After a brief 90 minute meeting with Hagel at the White House he released a not so kosher two page absolution stating generally that that the nominee had done an “about face” with which he was completely comfortable. He didn’t request any written disclosure or wait to review the disclosure requested by other senators. Nor did he wait to hear Senator Hagel’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

After Senator Schumer gave his blessing, the danger of the Hagel nomination became even more apparent. Senator Hagel’s testimony before the Armed Services Committee was by all accounts disastrous. Most significantly, while Senator Schumer expressed his complete comfort with Hagel on Iran, the nominee fundamentally misstated the Administration’s policy on this critical national security issue as containment and had to be corrected by Committee Chairman Levin. He also seemed determined to bolster the legitimacy of the oppressive theocratic regime in Tehran suggesting that the 2009 election was “free” and “fair.” Also, disconcerting was Hagel’s continued refusal at the hearing to support a letter condemning the Palestinian Intifada – an incessant period of terrorism in which “suicide” and other bombings resulted in the horrific murder of over 1,200 and wounding of over 8,000 Israeli civilians. Additionally, the nomination appeared to have emboldened every anti semite and enemy of Israel from here to Timbuktu as the internet was swarmed with messages disparaging the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland in response to the hearing.

One would think that these subsequent revelations would have encouraged Senator Schumer to rethink his position. On the contrary, this week he made two misleading public pronouncements in an effort to defend the indefensible. First, after an appearance at an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Lower Manhattan he stated “The main fight on Hagel is coming from the neocons. And they resent Hagel’s apostasy on Iraq.” This is of course patently false as the opposition to Hagel spans across the political spectrum and is based on a myriad of issues. Secondly, Senator Schumer stated that Senator Hagel had tears in his eyes when told of the insensitivity of his reference to the “Jewish Lobby”. When the statement is taken in its full context (“The Jewish lobby intimidates people into doing a lot of dumb things down here”) it seems a trifle difficult to believe that Hagel could not have been aware of the implication and provocation of the remark. Moreover, contrition of the nature described by Senator Schumer certainly was not apparent at the committee hearing.

Unfortunately, Senator Schumer’s hasty endorsement of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, and his duplicitous efforts to continue to try to justify that endorsement, reek of partisan politics and political expedience — and most certainly lacked the purity of divine purpose. We hope and pray that Senator Schumer will be true to his mission — and will reconsider his words, his actions and his support.

While our government appears unwilling to send a clear message to those seeking our destruction – we must send a clear message to our government.

Please stand strong and clear for peace.

Please put our national security ahead of party and politics.

Please stand strong and clear for truth, love and tolerance.

We are watching and we will not back down.

Indeed, if Mayor Koch’s great legacy was how he stood — his greatest legacy of all must be that he inspired others to stand.

6 Comments

  • Schumer is slime. I’m surprised he doesn’t make people anti-semitic, what with his arrogance, smugness, and other annoying traits. Like so many of the New York politicians, like Weiner and others, he’s done nothing else in life but be a professional politicians. Maybe we need term limits for Congress. Let Schumer get a real job, and have to work for a change. And look at Weiner (no, on second thought, don’t look at Weiner–he might be exposed), he can’t support himself doing gay porn, CFNM or otherwise by exposing himself so he now wants to run for Mayor. Why don’t they just give him a TV show on MSNBC with that other creep Spitzer or on CNN with the plagiarist-liar Farookazia, or whatever his name is.

    I just think Ed was floating in and out of lucidity during his last months. He just couldn’t bring himself to support a Republican.

    Well I could.

    And what’s with all these other cowards: Feinstein, Boxer, …my god, there are so many. What, 12 Jewish senators, and they all voted to confirm Hagel? Despicable.

    I just found this blog. So, the author ran against Nadler. Isn’t that the obese guy? Just ask me about the time I saw him stuffing his face with plates of food downstairs at Union Station…muffin neck sticking out over his collar, pile of French Fries, made sure I had my little jar of nitro in case the guy keeled over right on the spot.

  • Democratic operative and former Mayor Koch fully supported The election of Obama in 2008. More troublesome though was his continued support in the ’12 re-election campaign. For all Mr. Koch’s well earned reputation as a proud Jew and supporter of Israel, the fact that he chose Politics over the welfare of the Jewish State by putting his weight behind the man who showed so much animus towards Israel in his first fours years that Koch should later admit that he fully expected him to betray Israel, ‘but not so soon’…Mr. Mayor, rest in peace but I simply can not forgive you for that.

  • the Jewish voices were silent in fear while the propaganda against Israel continues. Just as Hitler blamed the Jews for WWI the Palestinians blame their miserable lives not on their leaders (Hamas) but on Israel. They have for centuries this tiny strip of land All I can say is if they spent as much time developing themselves as they do in their hatred they might invent something other than 7th century thinking.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Unfortunately, Koch did appear in a campaign commercial for Obama, knowing full well, as he later admitted, that Obama would betray Israel. When challenged about this, Koch left a valediction for the Jewish people who, after all, supported Obama in both presidential elections.

    It is a valediction worth revisiting.

    The Mayor had no regrets; “it wouldn’t make any difference. The Jews were going to vote for him no matter what. And that’s the nature of the Jews. They are always very solicitous of everybody else except their own needs and community.”

    Perhaps then, it’s the American Jewish community itself that is in need of prayers.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    The writer suggests that “We hope and pray that Senator Schumer will be true to his mission — and will reconsider his words, his actions and his support.”

    Frankly, given that Schumer is universally regarded as as slug, even on the Democrat side of the aisle, I think prayers in this regard would be misplaced.

    I’m fairly certain that similar prayerfulness would be misplaced regarding the other eleven United States Senators who are Jewish – all of whom voted to confirm Hagel.

  • Well written and well stated article!!! Hope to see more of your articles

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief by Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander H. Joffe (Palgrave Macmillan; 2013) Although this book came out several years ago, it remains pertinent. This is a meticulously researched book that concentrates on a very small bit of history: the time period from 1948-50 when the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, was organizing refugee relief in Gaza. Before UNRWA, the UN created the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees (UNRPR). It outsourced […]

    Read more →