Schumer calls for new elections in Israel, saying Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace

Schumer Urges Fresh Israeli Elections, Labels Netanyahu a Barrier to Peace Efforts

**Key Takeaways**

In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for Israel to conduct new elections. He expressed his belief that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deviated from his path and now stands as a barrier to peace in the region, especially with the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Schumer, who is the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S., delivered a strong critique against Netanyahu. In a speech that lasted 40 minutes on the Senate floor, Schumer accused the prime minister of aligning himself with far-right extremists. This coalition, according to Schumer, has led Netanyahu to overlook the civilian casualties in Gaza, diminishing global support for Israel to unprecedented lows.

Schumer warned, “Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.”

This stern caution comes at a time when more Democrats are voicing their concerns against Israel. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has intensified public pressure on Netanyahu’s administration. Biden urges more attention to the civilian casualties in Gaza amidst Israeli attacks. This month, the U.S. started delivering desperately needed humanitarian aid via airdrops. Additionally, it announced plans to set up a temporary pier to facilitate more aid deliveries to Gaza by sea.

Despite previously showing strong support for the Israeli government, Schumer’s stance appears to have shifted. He remarked that the Israeli populace is currently suppressed by outdated leadership visions.

Schumer pointed out that Netanyahu, a long-standing opponent of Palestinian statehood, is among the key hurdles to achieving the two-state solution advocated by the United States. He criticized Netanyahu for prioritizing his political longevity over Israel’s best interests.

The majority leader also held right-wing Israelis, Hamas, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accountable. He stated that peace in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank is unattainable as long as these figures remain influential.

Schumer acknowledged that the U.S. cannot dictate Israel’s election outcomes. However, he argued that a new election is essential for a transparent and healthy decision-making process regarding Israel’s future, especially when many Israelis are questioning their government’s direction and vision.

Following Schumer’s speech, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell promptly responded. McConnell argued that Israel deserves supportive allies and advised foreign commentators to avoid involvement.

McConnell accused the Democratic Party of harboring anti-Israel sentiments. He emphasized the importance of respecting Israel’s democratic decisions.

Netanyahu has historically enjoyed a closer relationship with U.S. Republicans. This was highlighted when he was invited to address a joint session of Congress in 2015, an event that strained U.S.-Israel relations during the Obama administration.

Recently, Netanyahu was expected to speak to Republican senators at a retreat. However, due to last-minute changes, Israeli ambassador Michael Herzog took his place.

Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, who is also Jewish, commended Schumer’s speech. He recognized the significance and the difficult decision-making process behind Schumer’s stance.

It remains uncertain how Schumer’s direct appeal for new elections will be received in Israel. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 2026. Netanyahu’s popularity has reportedly declined following his inability to prevent a deadly cross-border raid by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in significant civilian casualties.

Protesters in Israel have been demanding early elections. They argue that Netanyahu’s decisions are more about preserving his right-wing coalition than prioritizing Israel’s interests during wartime. They also claim that Netanyahu’s actions are jeopardizing Israel’s strategic alliance with the U.S. by dismissing American proposals for Gaza’s post-war future to appease his far-right government members.

U.S. regional priorities are increasingly challenged by these far-right Cabinet members who, like Netanyahu, oppose Palestinian statehood. This opposition is at odds with the goals of successive U.S. administrations aimed at resolving the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In a revealing moment after his State of the Union address, President Biden hinted at a crucial discussion with Netanyahu.

Vice President Kamala Harris, Schumer, and other lawmakers recently met with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s War Cabinet and a prominent rival of Netanyahu. This meeting was criticized by the Israeli prime minister.

Gantz, who joined Netanyahu’s government soon after the Hamas attacks, is expected to leave once the intense fighting subsides. This could signal the end of national unity and possibly lead to increased pressure for early elections due to the unpopularity of Netanyahu’s coalition.

Schumer emphasized his duty to speak out as the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the U.S. He highlighted his responsibility as a guardian of the People of Israel.

Schumer warned that if Israel tightens its grip on Gaza and the West Bank, leading to a de facto single state, there should be no expectation for Hamas and its allies to disarm. This scenario could result in perpetual conflict.

Schumer concluded that while Israel has the democratic right to select its leaders, it is crucial that Israelis are presented with a choice.