“You can be a Jew and care about Israel and it does not make you any less American,” charged Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer on Monday evening at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, DC. “You can be a Jew and lobby for Israel and it does not make you any less American.
"You can be, all at once, completely Jewish, completely pro-Israel and completely American,” he said.
Schumer bellowed a pro-Israel message at the annual event, while calling out fellow politician Rep. Ilhan Omar who had questioned the Jewish ability to be pro-Israel and pro-American at the same time.
Schumer, born in Brooklyn to Selma and Abraham Schumer, is himself Jewish. He has served as the senior United States Senator from New York since the late 1990s.
He said that, "When someone names only prominent Jews as trying to buy or steal our elections, we must call it out. When someone says that being Jewish and supporting Israel means you are not loyal to America, we must call it out. When someone looks at a neo-Nazi rally and sees some very fine people among its company, we must call it out."
Schumer said he is “proud that the overwhelming majority of Democrats are pro-Israel, and always have been."
"Our politics may be more polarized than ever, but it is incumbent upon all of us who care about the U.S-Israel relationship to keep it bipartisan,” he continued, “to keep our polarization from poisoning the bipartisan support that Israel has always enjoyed.”
Throughout the AIPAC event, many politicians - both Democrats and Republicans - have made reference to the antisemitc rhetoric espoused by Omar since taking office and condemned such statements as not only anti-Israel but anti-American values.
On Sunday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) delivered a similar complaint Sunday against Omar.
“When someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me,” said Hoyer to a standing ovation at the annual event.
Schumer also spoke about the current security situation in Israel between the Jewish State and Hamas, which escalated on Monday morning when Hamas fired a rocket that hit a home in the Sharon region.
"Israel has every right to respond, just the same as any other nation, including our own... no government can allow its civilians to be subject to rocket attacks, time and again,” Schumer said.