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Jun. 11 2010 - 7:53 pm | 866 views | 2 recommendations | 2 comments

Schumer Says Strangle Gaza Until They Do What We Want

Schumer Says It ‘Makes Sense’ To ‘Strangle [Gaza] Economically’ Until It Votes The Way Israel Wants

This past Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered a wide-ranging speech at an Orthodox Union event in Washington, D.C. The senator’s lecture touched on areas such as Iran’s nuclear program, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and several domestic policy issues.

During one point of his speech, Schumer turned his attention to the situation in Gaza. He told the audience that the “Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution,” and also that “they don’t believe in the Torah, in David.” He went on to say “you have to force them to say Israel is here to stay.”

New York’s senior senator explained that the current Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip — which is causing a humanitarian crisis there — is not only justified because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows the Palestinians living there that “when there’s some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement.” Summing up his feelings, Schumer emphasized the need to “to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go”:

via Think Progress » Schumer Says It ‘Makes Sense’ To ‘Strangle [Gaza] Economically’ Until It Votes The Way Israel Wants.

Imagine if Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) — the nation’s first elect Muslim congressman — appeared at a radical mosque in, let’s say, Dearborn, Michigan. At this radical mosque, Ellison explained that the Israeli government simply didn’t want to accept a Muslim state in Gaza and the West Bank — and let’s suppose this wasn’t actually true — and that this was because, you know, they don’t read the Quran.

Then Ellison would go on to say, “You see, those Israelis elected Netanyahu. And we don’t like Netanyahu, he has committed great crimes against our people. So I think it makes sense to economically strangle the Israelis until they change their minds.” And then Ellison went on to advocate denying them fresh meat, basic medical supplies, and a whole host of humanitarian items.

The congressman would probably be (rightly) lambasted across the political spectrum, made into a wild-eyed extremist in the media, and probably forced to resign (or maybe he’d lose by a 30-point landslide in the next election).

Of course, this hypothetical is just that. Unfortunately, this event basically happened, just replace Keith with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the radical mosque with the Orthodox Union. If you click the link above, which leads to my Think Progress post on the matter, you can watch Schumer delivering his remarks, and you can witness the crowd wildly cheering him on.

When I watched this happen, I thought to myself: What have we become as a country when this sort of talk is politically palatable for  a leading politician? How is it that my country not only is providing economic, political, and military cover for a country that is depriving an entire innocent population of the basic needs of survival — and then a public official can justify it by citing religious texts?

We need to look at ourselves as a country if this is what goes for mainstream political discourse. Senator Schumer cites the Torah. When I was a small kid, I used to go to a Baptist school (it was the only decent school in the area). I had the Old Testament read to me on a daily basis. I don’t remember the part about how, if you have enemies, you are supposed to starve their children. I do remember the passages about the importance of making peace between sworn, bitter enemies — about being a better human being by choosing nonviolence and grace over brutality and furor.

I think that’s the Torah our public officials need to be reading, otherwise they’re all complicit in what’s happening to the Palestinians.


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    I'm a recent graduate of the University of Georgia who has found himself smack dab in the middle of Washington, D.C. working as a reporter-blogger for ThinkProgress. I'm here to do what so many young people set off to their nations' capitals to do: change the place for the better.

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