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Benjamin Netanyahu Slams Chuck Schumer’s Senate Speech as ‘Totally Inappropriate’

CNN
CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully pushed back against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Senate-floor condemnation of his government, saying the U.S. shouldn‘t try to dictate how or when another government conducts its elections.

“I think what he said is totally inappropriate,” Netanyahu said on Sunday’s State of the Union. “It's inappropriate for him to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That's something that Israel, the Israeli public does on its own, but we're not a banana republic.”

Chuck Schumer’s Anti-Netanyahu Rant Is a Big Deal for U.S. Politics, But It Won’t Matter in Israel

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official, excoriated Netanyahu’s government for the high civilian death toll in Gaza and demanded Israel hold new elections to deal with the country’s response to Hamas and the Oct. 7 attack. "Nobody expects Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the things that must be done to break the cycle of violence, preserve Israel's credibility on the world stage, and work toward a two-state solution," Schumer said.

The speech drew widespread shock among Democrats, particularly due to Schumer’s past support for Israel and Netanyahu. Schumer was one of the few Democrats who voted against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, and he has largely avoided criticizing Israel despite its military bombardment in Gaza.

Netanyahu claimed on Sunday that the majority of Israelis support his government and that Schumer’s attention should instead be directed toward toppling Hamas.

“I think the only government that you should be working on to bring down now is the terrorist terrorists in Gaza, Hamas tyranny that murdered over 1,000 Israelis, including some dozens of Americans and is holding Americans and Israelis hostage,” Netanyahu told CNN’s Dana Bash.

He added: “If Sen. Schumer opposes these policies, he’s not opposing me, he’s opposing the people of Israel.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Defying Biden’s ‘Red Line’ Would Be a Disaster

A poll earlier this month found that a plurality of Israelis thought Netanyahu’s approach toward ceasefire negotiations was motivated by politics, while a majority of respondents expressed support for the top-line items—including a multi-week ceasefire in exchange for the full release of Israeli hostages and the release of Palestinian prisoners—proposed during negotiations.

Netanyahu also would not commit to new elections until “we win the war.”

“I think Israelis understand that if we were to have elections now before the war is won, resoundingly won, we will have at least six months of national paralysis,” Netanyahu said. “Which means if we don't win the war, we lose the war, and that would be not only a defeat for Israel but a defeat for America too.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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