Schumer’s Critique of Netanyahu Reveals a Growing Gap, Analysts Say

Senator Chuck Schumer’s harsh critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government revealed the widening gap between Israel and its most important ally, the United States, analysts said on Friday. But even some of Mr. Netanyahu’s rivals appeared reluctant to seize on the comments while the country is focused on the war in Gaza.

Mr. Schumer — Democrat of New York, the majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States — repeatedly slammed Mr. Netanyahu in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday as one of the main stumbling blocks to Israeli-Palestinian peace. While not explicitly calling for Mr. Netanyahu’s ouster, Mr. Schumer said Israelis must soon be allowed the opportunity to select new leadership.

Alon Pinkas, a retired Israeli diplomat, called the speech a profound moment that reflected widespread American dissatisfaction with Israel’s direction among both its allies in Congress and in the American Jewish community.

“For a Jewish senator from New York, the majority leader, a friend of Netanyahu who’s the most centrist possible Democrat and even leans hawkish on Israel, to voice criticism like this?” said Mr. Pinkas, who previously served as Israel’s consul general in New York. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

The senator’s comments reflected the growing frustration among some American Jews with Israel’s hard-right government, he said, adding: “If you’ve lost Chuck Schumer, you’ve lost America.”

Even before the war in Gaza, Mr. Netanyahu had divided Israelis over his attempt to advance a contentious plan to weaken the judiciary. The devastating Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 that officials said left 1,200 people dead in Israel and some 240 others taken as hostages to Gaza shocked Israelis, spurring greater calls for him to step down over the security failure.

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