Top Democrat Schumer calls for new elections in Israel, saying Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority leader on Thursday, called for Israel to hold new election. He said that he believed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “lost his direction” and was an obstacle to peace within the region due to a growing humanitarian crises in Gaza.

Schumer, who is the first Jewish majority in the Senate, and the highest ranking Jewish official in America, strongly criticised Netanyahu in a forty-minute speech on Thursday morning. Schumer claimed that the prime minister had joined a coalition of extreme right-wingers and, as a result, “he was too willing to tolerating the civilian death toll in Gaza which is pushing the support for Israel to historic lows.”

Schumer stated that “Israel cannot exist if it is made a pariah”.

The warning is coming at a time when an increasing number Democrats are pushing back against Israel, and President Joe Biden is increasing public pressure on Netanyahu’s government. Biden argues that Netanyahu needs to pay greater attention to the civilian deaths in Gaza during the Israeli bombing. This month, the U.S. began airdropping much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza and announced that it would establish a temporary port to allow more aid in via sea.


Schumer, who has been a staunch ally of Israel’s government for years, visited the country days after Hamas’ brutal attack on Oct. 7, and delivered a long speech in the Senate in December, condemning the “brazen, widespread antisemitism that we haven’t seen in decades, if not ever, in this country.”

He said Thursday on the Senate floor that “Israel’s people are currently being stifled by a government vision that is stuck to the past.”

Schumer claims that Netanyahu, who is a long-time opponent of Palestinian statehood and has been a vocal opponent of the United States’ two-state solution, is just one of many obstacles to the two states solution. Schumer stated that Netanyahu has “lost his way” by letting his political survival take precedence over Israel’s best interests.

He also blames right-wing Israelis as well as Hamas and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abubas. Schumer stated that “peace will not come to Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank until they are removed from the equation.”

Schumer stated that the United States could not dictate the outcome of an Israeli election, but that “a new vote is the only option to ensure a healthy, open, and transparent decision-making process for the future of Israel at a moment when many Israelis are losing confidence in their government’s vision and direction.”

John Kirby, the White House’s national security spokesman, declined to comment on Schumer’s remarks. He said the White House was most concerned with establishing a temporary ceasefire.

Kirby stated, “We’ll let Leader Schumer speak about it and his comments.” “We will continue to focus on ensuring that Israel has the necessary equipment to defend itself, while doing all that we can to prevent civilian casualties,” Kirby said.

Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, called Herzog’s speech “counterproductive” to our shared goals.

Herzog wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that “Israel is a democratic sovereign state.” It is not helpful to comment on a democratic ally’s domestic politics, especially when Israel is fighting against the terrorist organization Hamas.

Republicans also responded quickly to the speech. Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, said immediately following Schumer’s remarks that “Israel deserves a friend who acts like one,” and that foreign observers should “refrain from commenting.”

McConnell has said that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel. McConnell said: “Either respect their decisions, or disrespect their democracy.”

At a House GOP retreat held in West Virginia, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) called Schumer’s speech “inappropriate.”

The Republican Speaker said, “It is wrong that an American leader plays such a divisive part in Israeli politics when our closest ally to the region is fighting for its survival.”

Netanyahu has had a long-standing relationship with Republicans. He spoke at a joint meeting of Congress in 2015, at the invitation by GOP legislators to torpedo the former President Barack Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. Obama administration officials were furious at the move, which they saw as an attempt to circumvent Obama’s authority and a deep intrusion into U.S. foreign and political policy.

Netanyahu was recently invited to address Republican Senators during a retreat. Herzog, however, took his place because of last-minute scheduling issues.

Schumer’s direct and unusually strong call is not clear how it will be received by Israelis, as the next parliamentary election in Israel is scheduled for October 20, 2026. Netanyahu is blamed by many Israelis for not stopping the cross-border Hamas raid on Oct. 7, which resulted in 1,200 deaths, mainly civilians. His popularity has also suffered as a consequence.

Israeli protesters calling for an early election have claimed that Netanyahu makes decisions in a wartime based on his desire to keep his right-wing alliance intact, rather than Israel’s interest. They also claim that he’s endangering Israel’s strategic alliance with the United States, by refusing U.S. suggestions for a vision of Gaza after the war in order to appease his far-right government members.

The U.S.’s priorities in the Middle East have been increasingly hampered by members of his cabinet who are far right, and share Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian Statehood as well as other goals that successive U.S. Administrations have seen essential to long-term resolutions between Palestinians and Israelis.

Biden, in a moment of hot mic after delivering his State of the Union Address to legislators, promised to have Netanyahu “come to Jesus”.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris and Schumer, along with other lawmakers, met in Washington, DC, with Benny Gantz. Gantz is a member of Israel’s War Cabinet, and a much more popular rival to Netanyahu. The visit drew an admonition from the Israeli Prime Minister.

Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government as a member of the War Cabinet shortly after the Hamas attack. He is expected to leave government when the fighting has subsided, signaling that the period of national unification is over. The return of mass protests could increase pressure on Netanyahu and his deeply unpopular coalition for early elections.

Schumer stated that he felt an obligation to speak up as the highest-ranking Jewish official in the United States. He claimed that his last name is derived from the Hebrew Shomer or “guardian.”

He said: “I feel my responsibility as Shomer Yisroel – a guardian of Israel’s People – very strongly.”

Schumer stated that if Israel tightens up its control over