Netanyahu Responds to Schumer’s ‘Inappropriate’ Calls for Israeli Elections

By Karla Dial Published on March 18, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on several U.S. news stations Sunday morning to respond to comments U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made on March 12, calling him “an obstacle to peace” in Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorist organization who needs to be removed.

“The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7,” said Schumer, who is the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S. “I believe that holding a new election, once the war starts to wind down, would give Israelis an opportunity to express their vision for the post-war future.”

Netanyahu took to American airwaves to refute that idea, calling Schumer’s statements “totally inappropriate” while underscoring that most Israelis, as well as most Americans, support Israel’s policies in its ongoing war against Hamas.

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“It’s inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That’s something the Israeli public does on its own. We are not a banana republic,” he told CNN State of the Union host Dana Bash. “The only government we should be working to bring down now is the Hamas tyranny that murdered over a thousand Israelis, including dozens of Americans, and is holding Americans and Israelis hostage.

“This is a wake-up call to Sen. Schumer. The majority of Israelis support the policies of my government. It’s not a fringe government. If Sen. Schumer opposes these policies, he is not opposing me. He is opposing the people of Israel.”

Not Bowing to Pressure

Netanyahu made some more pointed comments Sunday morning before a meeting of Israeli government officials. According to The Jerusalem Post, he said:

Some in the international community are trying to stop the war before all its goals are achieved. They do this by making false accusations against the IDF, against the Israeli government, and against the Prime Minister of Israel.

They do this by trying to bring about elections now, in the midst of the war. And they do this because they know that elections now will stop the war and paralyze the country for at least six months. … [That] means that Israel has lost the war, and we will not allow that. That is why we must not give in to these pressures, and we will not give in to them.

The Netanyahu administration is launching an offensive into Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, in an effort to keep military pressure on Hamas to force it to release the remaining hostages. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden praised Schumer’s comments last week; when asked whether that meant the U.S. is officially sanctioning a recall election in Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that’s up to “the Israeli people.”

 

Karla Dial is editor-in-chief of The Stream.

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