WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this evening that he fears younger people “don’t share the same devotion to Israel” as older generations, potentially affecting America’s long-term commitment to the alliance with the Jewish State.
Schumer emphasized that he wasn’t referring to more than 3,500 youth activists in attendance among the approximately 18,000 attendees at the annual pro-Israel lobbying mega-conference.
“Too many younger Americans don’t know the history and say, ‘Well, both sides are to blame,'” he said of the Mideast conflict. “…They don’t realize that if Israel was weak her enemies would immediately seek her destruction.”
Schumer stressed that the “unfairness” toward Israel “springs from a deep well of bias that has always existed,” and if this history was appropriately taught to younger generations “I believe it would affect them powerfully.”
On the lack of a functioning Middle East peace process, the senator said “it’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace” and “it’s certainly not because we moved the embassy to where it belongs,” but it’s because “too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish State in the Middle East.”
He said Congress should “pass and highlight” the Taylor Force Act to end aid to the Palestinian Authority while it glorifies and makes payments to the families of terrorists.
“This is not just about funds to the Palestinian Authority,” he continued. “Too many believe that this Palestinian Authority is moderate and really wants peace.” Stopping aid while terrorists’ families get paychecks would “force the world to confront the dark truth that the Palestinian Authority every day actively aids and abets terrorism.”
Schumer also pressed for fighting back against “profoundly biased BDS,” the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement intended to punish Israel.
“Why does BDS single out Israel alone for condemnation? There’s only one word for that – anti-Semitism,” he said.”Let us call out the BDS movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers.”
Schumer said the “danger Israel faces from a newly resurgent Iran” also needs to be in the spotlight, including Iran and its proxies gaining a foothold in Syria near Israel’s border.
“We can never be complacent about any threat near Israel’s borders, and Iran is a threat right now,” he said.
On an earlier panel, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, “cooperating with our European partners,” needs to present “a permanent solution, not a temporary solution” to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear development.
Hoyer said the Jewish State has a “bright future if we stand strong against those who would destroy Israel and all it means to the world.”