Schumer Warns Against Surge of Antisemitism in U.S.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) looks on, following the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned on Wednesday against blaming Jewish Americans for the actions of Israel’s government, as antisemitism swelled in the U.S. following the Israeli response in Gaza to the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack.

The solidarity and sympathy many Americans felt for Jews after the attacks, which targeted mostly civilians in towns and cities, has given way to “other, more disturbing voices,” Schumer, a Democrat who is Jewish, wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times.

“Today, too many Americans are exploiting arguments against Israel and leaping toward a virulent antisemitism. The normalization and intensifying of this rise in hate is the danger many Jewish people fear most,” he wrote.

The Senate leader planned to give a speech on antisemitism later on Wednesday.

Antisemitic incidents in the United States rose by about 400% in over two weeks after Oct. 7, the Anti-Defamation League, which fights antisemitism and other forms of bias, said in October.

Schumer, who represents New York, cited boycotts and vandalism against Jewish-owned businesses “that have nothing to do with Israel” and Jewish students being harassed and assaulted on college campuses.

The senator said a Jewish high school teacher in New York City’s Queens borough told him she’d been forced to hide in a locked office from student protesters who were demanding she be fired because she attended a rally supporting Israel. He called the incident “antisemitism, pure and simple.”

“These are just a few examples, but they point to a troubling trend. Too often in Jewish history, legitimate criticism of Israeli policies or even older disputes over religious, economic and political issues have often crossed over into something darker, into attacking Jewish people simply for being Jewish,” Schumer wrote.

Schumer warned against allowing criticism of Israel “to cross over into something different — into a denial of a Jewish state in any form, into open calls for the very destruction of Israel, while at the same time the self-determination of other peoples is exalted.”

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