June 6, 2017 — Washington, D.C.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, in a major address to the AJC Global Forum, said, “the best thing for Israel and for Jews the world over is a strong and engaged America on the world stage.”
The AJC Global Forum, taking place June 4-6 in Washington, D.C., is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world.
Schumer focused on antisemitism, the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement, and the treatment of Israel at the UN as the main challenges “facing Israel, the United States and Jews across the globe” that demand U.S. leadership.
“The rise of antisemitism in Europe is an outrage that ought to be condemned by leaders of the world from every faith and nationality,” said Schumer. “It seems the darkest and most hateful fringes of our society, from the far left to the far right, have become newly emboldened,” both in Europe, where “antisemitism has always simmered beneath the surface” and now in the U.S, where “it’s been far more troubling to see this scourge emerge” in recent months.
“International efforts by groups like AJC, and continued leadership from the United States in working to combat antisemitism, is the only way to extinguish this hatred,” said Schumer. He praised AJC for “working tirelessly” on this front, noting, in particular, AJC’s “Mayors United Against Antisemitism” initiative, signed by over 500 European and American mayors and municipal leaders.
Schumer forcefully condemned the global BDS movement, which aims to delegitimize Israel, as a direct threat to Jews. “Its supporters, whether they know it or not, are practicing a modern form of antisemitism,” he said. “While the BDS movement condemns Israel and seeks to impose boycotts solely on the Jewish State, it willfully turns a blind eye to nations that actually violate human rights, especially in the Middle East,” notably Iran and some Arab nations.
The Senator praised AJC’s “Governors United Against BDS” initiative, a statement signed by all 50 governors and the mayor of Washington, DC., which was featured in AJC’s full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal.
Citing his state of New York’s law, adopted last year, against BDS, and a similar measure recently passed in Nevada, Schumer called on all state legislatures to pass legislation that “aggressively” fight BDS. “The U.S. has enormous economic leverage in the fight against BDS. We must use every weapon in our arsenal to combat this antisemitism of delegitimization,” he said.
Speaking to AJC on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, Schumer declared: “Let’s be clear that many of the BDS supporters have the same goal as the armies amassed on Israel’s border to annihilate the Jewish State. They too will be defeated.”
Calling the UN “an incubator for Israel-bashing,” Schumer said that “the United States must always come to the aid of our friend Israel at the UN, and it must continue to serve as the bulwark against smear campaigns and efforts to isolate Israel.”
And, on Iran, Schumer said an engaged America “is particularly important” as the regime “continues to sow instability throughout the region,” by supporting terrorist proxies, conducting ballistic missile tests, and flagrantly abusing the human rights of its own people. “It’s imperative we have bipartisan support to counter this behavior and keep the regime in check,” he said.
In conclusion, Senator Schumer said, “the world has always been a better place when America is a beacon for freedom and tolerance; for the economic and social advancement of all peoples. America has always been a better place when we embrace that role.”
AJC, founded in 1906 and with headquarters in New York, maintains 22 regional offices across the United States; 10 overseas posts; and 34 international association agreements with Jewish communities.