Charles Schumer’s Senate speech and the US-Israeli “Final Solution” in Gaza

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Oct. 24, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough]

On Thursday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer gave a speech in which he criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and far-right members of Israel’s cabinet, calling them an “obstacle” to “peace.” Netanyahu had “lost his way,” the New York senator declared.

The speech was closely coordinated with the White House, with Biden saying Schumer had “contacted my senior staff.” Biden added that it was a “good speech,” which expressed “serious concerns shared by many Americans.”

In the course of his remarks, Schumer admitted—for the first time—that members of the Israeli government have stated their intention to carry out the ethnic cleansing of the population of Gaza. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Defense Minister Ben Gvir are “clear in their desire to displace [Palestinians] from their homes and replace them with Israeli settlers,” Schumer said.

These statements are a staggering self-indictment. Smotrich called for the “immigration of Gaza Arabs to the countries of the world” on November 14, the same day that Schumer was a headline speaker at the “March for Israel” pro-genocide rally in Washington D.C.

To chants of “No ceasefire,” Schumer told Israel: “We stand with you. … we will not rest until you get the assistance you need.” He implied that left-wing opposition to the Gaza genocide was “antisemitism.”

On that day, the death toll from Israel’s onslaught on Gaza stood at 11,500. Since then, a further 20,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been killed.

Schumer and the White House provided over 100 arms transfers, totaling billions of dollars, to fund and arm a government that had publicly declared its intent to ethnically cleanse the population of 2 million people.

It is time to call things by their right name: The Netanyahu government is carrying out the “Final Solution of the Palestinian Problem.” Regardless of the occasional and cynical finger-wagging in Washington, it is doing so with the support of the Biden administration and both political parties in the United States.

The calls by Smotrich, Ben Gvir and Netanyahu for the murder and expulsion of the population of Gaza are not the statements of mere individuals. They represent the actual policy of the Israeli government. The leading figures of the Israeli state are the ideological and political descendants of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Despite their criticisms of Netanyahu’s policies, both Schumer and the White House made it clear that their statements did not reflect any change in US policy. The US would continue to provide weapons to Israel without any conditions, US officials stressed.

Earlier this week, the White House rushed to reaffirm that the US does not have any “red lines” on the number of people Israel is allowed to kill. “I don’t think it’s productive to assign ‘red line’ terminology to what is a very complex set of policies,” said Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton at a White House briefing on Monday.

The statements by Biden and Schumer are political ploys whose purpose is to cover up for the fact that the administration is deeply complicit in the Gaza genocide, which is overwhelmingly opposed by the vast majority of the world’s population.

In his speech, billed as a condemnation of Netanyahu, Schumer spent the bulk of his time condemning the Palestinians and those seeking a democratic, multi-ethnic state for both Jews and Arabs in the Levant.

He denounced those “on the left” who “reject a two-state solution in favor of one state, where Palestinians and Israelis would supposedly live in democratic peace side-by-side.”

To this, Schumer replied:

This state would be majority Palestinian, and in the past, some Palestinians have voted to empower groups like Hamas, which seeks to eradicate the Jewish people. ... It is longstanding American policy to support democracy overseas, but in this hypothetical single state, democracy could cost Israeli Jews their safety.

Schumer’s condemnation of a “democratic” solution to relations between the Jewish and Arab populations of Israel and Palestine is highly significant. In reality, the genocidal policies that Schumer claims to condemn flow organically from the entire Zionist project, which from its outset to the present day has served as a bastion of US imperialist domination over the population of the Middle East. To cite the words of Joe Biden, “If Israel didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.”

With 30,000 Gazans already dead, the entire population of over 2 million people is on the brink of starvation. Israel is committing massacres on a daily basis, killing dozens at a food distribution hub on Thursday.

Workers and young people all over the world must take up the struggle against the Gaza genocide as a critical component of the fight against imperialist war and the capitalist system.