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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On His Major Address On The Rise Of Antisemitism

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the uptick of antisemitism across the nation, and how we must come together to combat hatred of all forms. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, I spoke here on the Senate floor about a subject that is highly personal, and yet of immense importance: the rise of antisemitism in America.

I spoke out because as the highest Jewish elected official in the country – and in American history – I felt an obligation to say aloud what is felt within the hearts of so many Jewish people across the country, and around the world.

After October 7th, Jewish Americans are feeling singled out, targeted, and isolated. In many ways, we feel alone. The solidarity that Jewish Americans initially received from many of our fellow citizens was quickly drowned out by other voices.

I want to be clear: I believe most Americans who are criticizing Israeli policy are not antisemitic, nor that the vast majority of criticism of Israel’s policies is inherently antisemitic per se. But it cannot be denied that in too many instances, antisemites are taking advantage of the pro-Palestinian movement to espouse hatred and bigotry towards Jewish people. And similarly on the hard right, the poison of antisemitism has reached levels over these past few years we have not witnessed perhaps ever in America.

All Americans share a responsibility and an obligation to fight against antisemitism. We have an obligation to fight back against all forms of bigotry, be it islamophobia, or racism against Black Americans, or demonizing the immigrant.

Whether it comes from the left, or from the right, antisemitism is an evil that must be condemned.

Americans ask, “how can we help combat that?”

As I said yesterday, my plea to the American people, of all creeds and backgrounds, is this.

First, learn the history of the Jewish people, who have been abandoned repeatedly by their fellow countrymen – left isolated and alone to combat antisemitism – with disastrous results. I talked about this at some length in the speech I gave yesterday. I would urge all Americans to read it.

Second, reject the illogical double standard that is once again being applied to the plight of Jewish victims and hostages, to some of the actions of the Israeli government, and even to the existence of a the Jewish state. The glaring double standard where so many support nationhood for so many other peoples but not for the Jews must be condemned.

And third, understand why Jewish people defend Israel – not because we wish harm on Palestinians, but because we fear a world where Israel is forced to tolerate the existence of groups like Hamas that want to wipe out all Jewish people from the planet. We fear a world where Israel, the place of refuge for Jewish people, will no longer exist. If there is no Israel, there will be no place for the Jewish people to go when they are persecuted in other countries.

I want to thank my colleagues for taking the time to listen, not just to my remarks yesterday but to all Jewish Americans speaking out against the rise in antisemitism. I’d also like to thank the Republican Leader for his gracious words after my remarks, and so many members in this chamber – Democrat and Republican – who made comments to me that they so respected my speech. And many said it had to be given – I agree with that. Both parties have an obligation to work together to eliminate the poison of antisemitism – and all forms of intolerance wherever we see it – regardless of who says it. I hope we can continue working together in this chamber to advance that very noble goal.