Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the increase in antisemitism in the U.S. amid the Israel-Hamas war has become a “five-alarm fire.”
During a 40-minute speech addressed to the Senate on Wednesday, Schumer called on Americans to “condemn antisemitism with full-throated clarity whenever we see it before it metastasizes into something even worse.”
Schumer said that since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel, Jewish Americans are “feeling singled out, targeted and isolated.”
“In many ways, we feel alone,” added Schumer, who is the highest-ranking elected Jewish official in the United States.
The Oct. 7 attack left more than a thousand people dead, with more than 200 taken hostage by Hamas. Israel responded with a massive bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip that has only recently paused amid a cease-fire and exchange of hostages and prisoners. At least 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, according to estimates from the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
“To us, the Jewish people, the rise in antisemitism is a crisis,” Schumer said, “a five-alarm fire that must be extinguished.”
Schumer claimed that those who were once “ideological travelers” with liberal Jews in the U.S. have turned against them.
“Not long ago, many of us marched together for Black and brown lives,” he said. “We stood against anti-Asian hatred, protested bigotry against the LGBTQ community, we fought for reproductive justice out of the recognition that injustice against one oppressed group is injustice against all. But apparently, ... in the eyes of some, this principle does not extend to the Jewish people.”
A CNN poll shows that half of Americans support Israel’s military response, with an additional 20% saying it’s partially justified.
Schumer added he was not labeling criticisms of Israel’s military response in the Palestinian enclave as antisemitic.
“This speech is also not an attempt to pit hate towards one group against that of another,” he said. “I believe that bigotry against one group of Americans is bigotry against all.”