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Schumer: Fight Anti-Semitic Anti-Zionism by 'Boycotting the Boycotters'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron embrace after a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup July 16, 2017, in Paris. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, Pool)

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for bipartisan cooperation in “boycotting the boycotters” of the BDS movement against Israel while branding anti-Zionism a “pernicious” form of anti-Semitism.

Schumer’s speech on the Senate floor responded to French President Emmanuel Macron’s Sunday vow that France “will be uncompromising with anti-Zionism, because it is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.” Macron was hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris to mark the 75th anniversary of the “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of more than 13,000 French Jews.

“President Macron is absolutely right,” Schumer said today. “Anti-Semitism is a word that’s been used throughout history when Jewish people are judged and measured by one standard and the rest by another. When everyone else was allowed to farm and Jews could not; when everyone else was allowed to live in Moscow and Jews could not; when others could become academics or tradesmen and Jews could not. Praise God that hasn’t happened in America, but it was hallmark of Europe. And the word to describe all these acts is anti-Semitism.”

It’s like anti-Zionism, he said: “the idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination but Jews cannot; that other nations have a right to exist, but the Jewish state of Israel does not.”

“That, too, is a modern form of anti-Semitism, just as President Macron of France said this weekend.”

Schumer added that “anti-Zionism, unfortunately, continues to bubble up in many different forms,” and “there is perhaps no greater example than the pernicious effort to delegitimize Israel through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.”

“The BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign that I would say, in similar words to Mr. Macron, is a ‘reinvented form of anti-Semitism’ because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not any other nation most of whose practices are abhorrent — far worse than the democracy of Israel, which recognizes people’s rights,” he said. “I hope that states across this country will continue to push back against the BDS movement, by boycotting the boycotters, as my home state of New York has done.”

“And I know that my fellow Senators, on both sides of the aisle – this is an issue that has, thank God, not lent itself to partisanship – will join me in condemning this modern brand of anti-Semitism, as President Macron did this weekend.”

Schumer is a co-sponsor on Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) Combating BDS Act of 2017, which allows a state or local government to adopt and enforce measures to divest assets or restrict contracting with any entity that engages in BDS activity targeting Israel.

At the Paris ceremony, Netanyahu lauded French whose heroism in saving Jews “involved putting their families at risk, putting their children, their wives, their husbands, at the risk of execution.”

“Recently we have witnessed a rise of extremist forces that seek to destroy not only the Jews, but of course the Jewish state as well, but well beyond that. They wish to destroy anyone that stands in their way – Jews, Christians, Muslims, who suffer the brunt of their savagery,” Netanyahu said. “Two days ago in Nice, you said that this was a war of civilizations. I fully agree. Militant Islam wants to destroy our common civilization. The militant Shiites led by Iran, the militant Sunnis led by ISIS – both seek to vanquish us. They seek to destroy Europe.”

“You stand boldly and proudly against this scourge. You clearly condemn and fight anti-Semitism, and you clearly condemn and fight this larger militancy that seeks to destroy our world,” he told Macron, adding he was “deeply impressed by the fact that your first visit abroad was to Mali where this cancerous plague is trying to consume the heart of Africa and from there, expand elsewhere.”