On Wednesday, November 29, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered a landmark speech on American antisemitism, inspired by the fact that protests against Israel’s assault on Gaza after the October 7 attack by Hamas have descended into an embrace of Hamas’s stated goal of the complete destruction of Israel. From there it has, for some people, been a short step to attacking Jewish people in general.
As with so many humanitarian messages, the people who need to understand Schumer's message, will not be hearing it . . .
For some Americans to celebrate the Oct 7 attack as an “attack on colonizers” is disgraceful and hypocritical.
Every American citizen who doesn’t have a fully Native American bloodline is a colonizer! You think Israel taking Palestinian land is bad? The United States is 100 percent built on stollen land! How ignorant can people get?!?!
THANK YOU. Heather. We do feel alone and so many who we support have abandoned us. Your coverage of Schumer’s speech means so much to me.
Thank you Professor Richardson, for publicizing Senator Schumer’s words. Indeed, this is no intellectual exercise for most (if not all) American Jews. Many of us have a personal connection to the Holocaust. I am one.
My maternal grandfather survived that gruesome period of history, by immigrating from Russia before WWII. Unhappily, the rest of his family was wiped out in October 1942, when Einsatzgruppen forces murdered 30,000 Jews in Brest-Litovsk over a period of three days.
My paternal grandfather immigrated from Hungary also before WWII. His sister, an Aunt I never knew, immigrated to America, but then returned to Budapest in the 1930s. She was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.
And finally, my wife is a “2G” survivor. Her father survived in the woods of Poland, making it through the DP camps to America in 1949. But my wife’s grandmother died in those woods, along with others who were too weak to cope with the rigors of winter. These experiences form who we are. So when synagogues and Jewish businesses in America are vandalized, we immediately think of Kristallnacht. And it causes fear.
We have lived in a land of religious tolerance ever since the first Dutch Sefardi Jews arrived in America. Is it possible that this chapter in American history is coming to an end? I hope not, but the long history of Diaspora Judaism suggests that oppression is the rule, rather than the exception.
I pray that better natures will prevail. Ken y’hi ratzon. May it be His will.
At this point, there is not much I can say. I understand the history and it is getting late to remember that the Palestinians and the Jewish people who founded Israel are both equally victims of European imperialism. There wil be "what about this.." or "but remember, ." Regardles, they will remain victims of forces beyond there control.
I will let it be and second Joanne Gilbert.. Yes, Senator Shumer described a history that must be remembered, eloquently.
This is what I, an American Jew with Israeli cousins and many former Muslim students, wrote last night to my sister-in-love, an American Christian who shares my views:
After the past week of the ceasefire and the return of the hostages and the detainees to their families, I was beginning to feel hopeful with each day that the cessation of hostilities was extended that we might be inching ever so slowly to a more lasting peace. However, the resumption of hostilities today had filled me with sadness. More people are dying. More are being injured. More buildings are being leveled. The remaining hostages remain in danger. The detainees in Israeli prisons remain in indefinite administrative detention. Israeli soldiers are being called upon to risk their lives for an elusive goal. How can Netanyahu and his fellow criminals have convinced themselves that bringing more misery to the region will destroy a group whose leaders live safely in Qatar? Can they not anticipate how the current generation of Gazan children will grow up with hatred in their hearts for Israelis? Or how the terror that the Israeli settlers and the IDF wage on the West Bank will affect those who are the victims?
Perhaps I deluded myself in being encouraged by just a few days of ceasefire into thinking that a possible path toward peace was being established. Clearly, 75 years of a mixture of a sense of entitlement and feelings of injustice cannot be untangled overnight. But resuming the bombing only gets us further from any eventual long-lasting solution. Why is this so obvious to millions and millions of us across nations and continents and yet so beyond the understanding of the warmongers?
And thinking about it today, I realized how incensed I am that my tax dollars are being used to kill and maim civilians and to destroy their cities. There is no contradiction in the hearts of those of us who decry the terror inflicted by Hamas on October 7 and the terror that is inflicted on the people of Gaza and the West Bank by the misguided policies of the current Israeli government.
Thank you for summarizing his speech so clearly. Here in the SF Bay Area, the kind of antisemitism that Schumer decries is on full display at some city council meetings. It's shocking, demoralizing, and depressing.
While I completely agree w Schumer about the scourge of antisemitism and the fact that the Oct 7 attack was a war crime, I mourn the Senator’s blindness to the plight of the Palestinians. 15,000 dead in Gaza and more than a million displaced and struggling to access food and water. Hospitals bombed, homes destroyed. Professor Richardson please read and share the statements from Doctors without Borders, Mercy Corps, and other aid agencies about why a Permanent Ceasefire is urgently needed.
Please listen to Alon Lee-Green and others inside Israel who are rightly pointing out that violence breeds violence, and that negotiations, not further bombing of and siegemaking, are essential both for the release of hostages and for the possibility of a fiture with peace and safety for Israelis and Palestinians both.
People who deny the atrocities Hamas committed, or the Hamas’s extremist, violent, antisemitic and mysoginistic philosophy are tragically wrong.
People, including Senators, who sanitize the actions of Netanyahu’s extremist, violent, and anti-Palestinian government are also wrong.
And people like Senator Schumer who are in the position of having provided, and are likely to continue to provide— using US taxpayer dollars— billions of dollars of weapons that are likely to be used to bomb innocents and life-supporting infrastructure in Gaza, have a responsibility to do more than gently disagree with the Netanyahu government about further settler encroachment and violence in the West Bank. They have a responsibility to call for an end to the war crimes being perpetrated with US weapons. They have a responsibility to honor the signature idea of the United States— that All people are created equal and have a right to life and liberty— and remember that Palestinians are people too.
Having been abused does not give one free license to abuse. Having been oppressed does not give free license to oppress others. Fear should not give license for mass killing.
Please don’t think I “don’t understand.” I understand the mass murder of human beings because of their religion too personally. Much of my family, were killed in the Holocaust because they were Jews. The fact that the Israeli government is using antisemitism as a shield to justify driving 2 million Gazans from their homes sickens me. And the fact that the US government is shruggging its shoulders while this happens is a travesty.
The Hamas leadership that planned Oct 7 should be tried and sentenced for their crimes by the International Criminal Court. Likely, so should some members of the Netanyahu government.
Thank you, Dr. Richardson for bringing Chuck Schumer's speech to us all. It is disgusting to me that such a speech is necessary. Antisemitism is so opposed to what America should be - a welcoming land for all.
I happen to have a Jewish granddaughter by marriage, two half Hispanic grandchildren, one grandchild of African American descent, and one blue eyed blond granddaughter. They are all beautiful, all worthy, all decent people. Most of all, everyone, in my family is Homo sapiens, one and only one animal, no sub species. How can anyone be different?
I despise all terrorists regardless or origin. Racists of any type are anathema. If you need someone to debase in order to feel good about yourself, I pity you, but I have no sympathy. I am, by choice, an atheist, but I respect your right to any religion of your choice. I do not respect your hatred or disrespect for others who are different from you - no exceptions.
I think Schumer shows a dreadful lack of sensitivity and empathy to the plight of the Palestinians. He conflates Palestinians in general with Hamas, and ludicrously inflates the risk of Israeli destruction, one of the strongest militaries in the world, possessing nuclear arms and with the unwavering backing of the US.
I am sympathetic to the to all my Jewish brothers and sisters who have hateful ideology directed against them. Why then are we less sympathetic to Palestinians who have had their land and homes stolen from them without compensation, which continues to this day, and have lived under the most brutal oppression for 75 years. How would we respond if it were Jews in Gaza losing everything to the bombs falling from the sky?
The most heavily bomber territory on the planet used to Viet-Nam, who received more tonnage than all the bombs dropped in WWII. That dreadful prize now belongs to Gaza.
Please open your eyes.
We stand with you Mr. Schumer 💙
It worries me these issues which have been successfully trolled and manipulated on social media to dilute the Democrats’ 2024 messaging more successfully than third party options. The door to a Trump redux is opening.
Thank you Heather for excerpt on Senator Schumer. It means a lot to us who are Jewish.
Would be interesting to know how many American civilians were actually killed by Japan or Germany before the US went to war in WWII. That being said the IDF needs to stop killing Palestinian civilians. This last thing is not something anyone except Israel needs to answer for. For sure the evil Hamas is encouraging martyrs to be created. It is what they wanted. Don't give it to them.
I recommend the Golden Rule not many more eyes for an eye and many more teeth for a tooth.
While Senator Schumer and many Jewish people present the Jewish people and Israel as all one and the same, there is much evidence that the Jewish people and Israel have as many perspectives as Americans and the U.S. Or if you prefer, Christians and the U.S.
Jewish Voices For Peace don’t agree with nor approve of Israel’s destruction and killing of mostly Palestinian civilians, women, children, the elderly and infirm. They are not the only Jewish people or Israelis that criticize Israel’s military activity in Gaza and the West Bank, and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In fact many of these Jewish groups and individuals have known of and criticized Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians for many decades. Longer than Americans have been paying attention. They are not antisemitic.
The real cause of today’s antisemitism is a combination of calculating all criticism of Israel’s policies as antisemitism. And Israel’s position that they can dismiss and disregard their allies and world opinion regarding human rights.
The good deeds and support of human rights by American Jews for U.S. minorities, doesn’t excuse what Israel does to Palestinian civilians. The same goes for Americans who support civil rights in the U.S. This doesn’t excuse our preemptive invasion of Iraq that killed, displaced and turned millions of Iraqi lives into a deadly nightmare. The U.S. accomplished nothing but death, destruction and more enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, though our politicians will claim something else.
Antisemitism will only be brought under control when everyone treats each other equally in the manner where the only anti will be anti war, anti supremacy and anti nationalism.
Thank you, Prof Richardson. I hope our Jewish friends know that we are appalled by any and all expressions of antisemitism in US and elsewhere and ready to support them where possible.