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After Schumer talks to its members, Conference of Presidents still has ‘deep reservations’

(JNS) Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met virtually for more than an hour with about 70 people on a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations call on Tuesday afternoon.

Very soon thereafter, the umbrella group expressed “deep” appreciation for Schumer’s participation and “longstanding support” of Israel and Jews but was terse in its criticism of his March 14 comments on the Senate floor.

Even though Schumer’s “decades of leadership are historic and without precedent,” Harriet Schleifer and William Daroff, chair and CEO, respectively, of the Conference of Presidents, stated that the “pro-Israel community and our membership continue to have deep reservations about Senator Schumer’s speech on the Senate floor last week regarding impediments to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“We believe that at a time when Israel is fighting an existential war, on the embers of the 1,200 innocents massacred on Oct. 7, it is not a time for public criticisms that serve only to empower the detractors of Israel, and which foster greater divisiveness, when unity is so desperately needed,” they stated.

On March 14, Schumer said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with the Israeli right, Hamas and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, represented “the four obstacles to peace” between Israelis and Palestinians. He added that Israel should hold new elections.

“Our member organizations, representing the broad swath of American Jewry, remain distressed that an American official would tell a sovereign, democratic ally when to conduct its electoral process and assert that the U.S. should possibly ‘play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change present course,’” the Conference of Presidents leaders stated.

“In actuality, what is really needed is U.S. leverage to bolster and support the Jewish state in this time of need,” they said.

The two said it was “most unfortunate” that Schumer’s “stated barriers to peace included the Hamas terror army and the democratically elected prime minister of Israel in the same breath.”

“Hamas’s unwillingness to release the hostages, lay down its arms and surrender are the actual barriers to peace,” Schleifer and Daroff stated. “The U.S.-Israel relationship has weathered many disagreements through close and confidential discussion of its leadership, which continues to be the appropriate forum for such conversations.”

The nearly 70-year-old Conference of Presidents represents about 50 major American Jewish organizations.

PHOTO: Schumer

CAP: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is part of a group of lawmakers announcing an amendment to the Energy Policy and Modernization Act to help families in Flint, Mich. in January 2016. Credit: Senate Democrats via Creative Commons.

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