Schumer Calls For Netanyahu’s Ouster, New Elections In Israel Amid War With Hamas

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down and his government to be dissolved.

Schumer took the extraordinary step in a speech on the Senate floor. The New York Democrat said that Netanyahu “has lost his way” and “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza.” Israel’s standing in the international community is suffering under the prime minister’s leadership, Schumer said.

“Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also weakened Israel’s political and moral fabric through his attempts to co-opt the judiciary, and he has shown zero interest in doing the courageous and visionary work required to pave the way for peace – even before this present conflict,” Schumer said.

No reliable count of Palestinian deaths since the Israel-Hamas war began exists. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claims that over 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, though that number does not separate out militants from civilians. American data analysts have also raised doubts about the number after analyzing the health ministry’s reports, finding a number of unlikely anomalies that suggest the data has been falsified.

Schumer said the will of the Israeli people has been “stifled” by “the Netanyahu coalition.” Israelis would choose a different policy toward bringing an end to the war if Netanyahu stepped aside, Schumer suggested.

“Five months into this conflict, it is clear that Israelis need to take stock of the situation and ask, ‘Must we change course?’ At this critical juncture, I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government,” the Senate Majority Leader said.

Israel is currently run by a war cabinet that includes Netanyahu’s main political rival and leader of the opposition, Benny Gantz. Though Schumer, following the White House, focused his attacks on Netanyahu, the Israeli war goal of eliminating Hamas has wide support across the political spectrum. In a December poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, over 80 percent of the Israeli public said that consideration for Palestinians should have a fairly small or very small impact on the decision to continue the war.

It’s unclear how Netanyahu’s departure from the government would change Israeli war strategy. Gantz visited the White House earlier this month and reportedly faced hostility during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan over Israel’s prosecution of the war, though administration officials have not attacked Gantz publicly as they have Netanyahu. The Israeli war cabinet was formed at the beginning of the war in part to show unity in Israel in its war against Palestinian terrorists.


Schumer threatened to leverage U.S. aid to Israel in order to get changes in policy out of the government.

“If Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition remains in power after the war begins to wind down and continues to pursue dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing U.S. standards for assistance, then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in changing Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course,” Schumer said.