Schumer condemns anti-Semitism in US, remains low-key in response to Israel-Hamas fighting

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in recent days condemned anti-Semitic attacks in the United States even as he’s stayed very low-key in his response to the fighting and subsequent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that preceded the apparent spike in violence in several American cities.

“Sen. Schumer condemns in the strongest possible terms any and all anti-Semitic attacks in New York and across the country,” a spokesman for the majority leader told Fox News. “Confronting anti-Semitism ought not to be a partisan issue and these awful recent attacks as reported as wrong, plain and simple.”

Schumer, D-N.Y., in recent days issued similar condemnations of anti-Semitism amid reports of violent attacks against Jews and pro-Israel demonstrators. 

Schumer tweeted Sunday that “we must stand together to stop the recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks.” He cited a report by WCBS-TV, which stated that the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force was searching for a group of men responsible for at least two anti-Semitic attacks on Saturday night.

“We must stand together against the forces of hate,” he said. “Anti-Semitism, bigotry, and intolerance have no place in New York or anywhere else.”

Schumer also condemned anti-Semitic violence in a tweet Friday.

“The kind of anti-Semitic attacks, like those reported over the last week, are disturbing and wrong,” he said. “Intolerance like this has no place in New York or anywhere else, and it must be confronted and overcome.”

Schumer’s condemnations of the violence were notably more firm than those of other Democrats, particularly some of the left-wing “Squad” members in the House. Those members, including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., couched their condemnations of anti-Semitism with criticisms of Israel or other forms of bigotry in the same breath.

Yet Schumer has remained notably quiet on the actual fighting between Hamas and Israel, mentioning the fighting only on occasion and saying little when he does. This is notable as Schumer has historically been one of the most fervent defenders of Israel in Congress. 

Schumer’s only public mention of the cease-fire came in brief comments at a press conference in New York City on Friday. 

“I’d say to everybody, the operative word is peace. I’m really glad there’s a cease-fire in the Middle East and I have every confidence that the Biden administration will make all efforts to maintain it,” Schumer said. 

“Here in New York, peaceful protest is our hallmark, but it must stay peaceful,” he continued, before moving on to mention an anti-Asian hate bill Congress passed last week. “Hate against any group, Asians, Jews, Palestinians, is wrong.”

Schumer held a press event on Sunday in New York City on vaccines but was not asked questions. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praises his Democratic Caucus at a news conference just after the Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

During the fighting, as other Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez – who’s been mentioned as a potential primary challenger for Schumer – pressed the Biden administration to take a tougher stance against the Israeli government, the majority leader said even less. 

Schumer issued no independent press releases or social media posts of his own on the fighting in the Middle East. Nor did he mention the fighting in his regular Senate floor remarks. 

Last Monday and Tuesday, Schumer was asked about the fighting by reporters. In those exchanges, he referred to a statement he joined that was put out by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Todd Young, R-Ind., that called for a cease-fire while recognizing that Israel has a right to defend itself. 

Schumer avoided a question Monday when asked whether he would join a statement by 28 Senate Democrats that also called for a cease-fire but did not include language saying Israel has a right to self-defense.

“I want to see a cease-fire reached quickly and mourn the loss of life,” he said, pointing to the Murphy-Young statement. 

The cease-fire, which Israel announced late last week, followed the most intense clash between Israel and Hamas since 2014. The fighting saw Hamas and other armed groups fire more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel, most of which were intercepted by the country’s missile defense system known as the “Iron Dome” or landed in open areas. Some of the rockets fell short and landed within Gaza. 

In response, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza in an effort that Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on “Fox News Sunday” “gave Hamas a heavy blow.”

The conflict killed well over 200 people, with most of the casualties in Gaza. 

Fox News’ David Aaro and Kelly Phares contributed to this report. 

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