Speaking at the the AIPAC policy conference recently, Sen. Chuck Schumer gave one of the most reprehensible speeches on the Israel/Palestine conflict I've heard outside of the rabid racism espoused by the current Israeli government. According to Schumer, the Palestinians have no rights to their own land because they don't believe in the Torah. Yes, you read that correctly. Stated the Democratic Senator from New York:
Now, let me tell you why – my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. The view of Palestinians is simple, the Europeans treated the Jews badly culminating in the Holocaust and they gave them our land as compensation.
Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin…
This is a prominent US politician basing international law and the rights of nation states on mythological fairytales created by illiterate goat herders. Schumer has joined religious bigots on the right like Mike Pence by putting forward the most idiotic support of Israel imaginable, and yet barely anyone in the media thought it worth noting.
If that wasn't bad enough, Schumer praised the Trump administration’s extremely dangerous and widely condemned decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and stated that Israel's colonization of Palestinian land had nothing to do with the reason there is no peace:
Now, some say there are some who argue the settlements are the reason there’s not peace, but we all know what happened in Gaza, Israel voluntarily got rid of the settlements there, the Israeli soldiers dragged the settlers out of Netzarim, and three weeks later the Palestinians threw rockets into Sderot. It’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.
Some say it’s the borders. Oh, Israel wants different borders, but they forget during the negotiations in 2000, Ehud Barak was making huge territorial concessions that most Israelis didn’t like, it was Arafat who rejected the settlement. It’s not the borders neither. And it’s certainly not because we’ve moved the embassy to where it should belong in Yerushalayim. It’s not that either.
What is it? According to Schumer, it is simply because Palestinians don't believe in the geography of ancient Jewish spiritual texts (when incidentally, the concept of nation states did not even exist). This truly insane argument can only have been made by a ideological fanatic given it goes against all available evidence and basic logic. Here is a map showing just how much land Israel has taken from the Palestinians over the decades:
Yes, Israel has removed some fanatical settlers, but the Netanyahu government has continued colonizing Palestinian land completely unabated, and to pretend Palestinians have no right to be aggrieved about this isn't just stupid, but racist in the extreme. To create peace in the Middle East, Israel and its supporters must at some point acknowledge the grave crimes that have been committed against the Palestinians and work towards some sort of agreement that at the very least, takes them into account. As it stands, America and the majority of its politicians are making that close to impossible.
Chuck Schumer is a valuable ally in the battle against Donald Trump, but on Israel, he is a dangerous ideologue perpetuating dangerous myths that will nothing more than inflame an already volatile conflict.