Charles E. Schumer (archives)
Photo: AP
Democratic senator: Jerusalem dispute must stop
Charles E. Schumer slams Obama administration's attitude towards Israel. If White House fails to change its policy, he says, 'we’ll have to take it to the next step'
WASHINGTON – Netanyahu government receives support from senior Democratic senator: New York Senator Charles E. Schumer slammed the Obama administration on Thursday, defining its attitude towards the Israeli prime minister as threatening and harmful.


In an interview on the politically conservative Jewish Nachum Segal Show, Schumer said he had told American President Barack Obama and administration officials that the policy of publicly pressuring Israel to end construction in Jerusalem "has to stop".


"I told the president, I told (White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk," said Schumer, the most senior Democratic official to blast the administration over its policy towards Israel.


He referred to statements made by White House officials, that the relations between Washington and Jerusalem depended on the peace process, as "terrible".


"That is the dagger because the relationship is much deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americans – Democrat, Republican, Jew, non-Jew – would feel that. So I called up Rahm Emanuel and I called up the White House and I said, 'If you don’t retract that statement you are going to hear me publicly blast you on this," Schumer said.


He noted that the White House had backed off that statement, but that that was not enough for Jewish senators expected to meet with Obama next week to demand that he change his attitude towards Israel.


"You have to show Israel that it’s not going to be forced to do things it doesn’t want to do and can’t do. At the same time you have to show the Palestinians that they are not going to get their way by just sitting back and not giving in, and not recognizing that there is a state of Israel," Schumer said.


According to the senator, "Right now there is a battle going on inside the administration, one side agrees with us, one side doesn’t, and we’re pushing hard to make sure the right side wins and if not we’ll have to take it to the next step."


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