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Metro&Beyond: Schumer Criticizes Orthodox Leaders

Jacob Kornbluh

Schumer accuses Orthodox leaders of “tepid” response to Trump

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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S enate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York called out Orthodox Jewish leaders last week for not condemning forcefully enough President Trump’s “tepid” response to the Charlottesville riots last August.

According to a report by the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), during an annual closed meeting between Jewish organizational officials and Democratic senators, Schumer criticized Orthodox leaders in particular, saying they should have done more to condemn President Trump for his remarks following the Charlottesville protests last August. At that time, Trump said that “both sides” — white nationalists and leftist demonstrators — were to blame for the violence.

According to JTA, members of the Orthodox Union (OU) responded that it and other religious groups had criticized Trump’s remarks in a timely fashion, but Schumer was not in the room when they delivered their response.

In fact, a day after the president made his “both sides” comment, OU president Moshe Bane told i24News that if Trump was serious in drawing a moral equivalency between the protesters and the neo-Nazis, “that would be totally unacceptable and abhorrent to us.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) called Schumer’s remarks “distasteful, shameful, and arrogant,” and claimed he was playing to his progressive, liberal base.

When asked if the senator would walk back his remarks after being presented with the OU’s response, a Schumer spokesperson, Marisa Kaufman, said that meetings like the one Schumer attended “encourage dialogue and an exchange of ideas” between Democratic lawmakers and community leaders, and that Schumer used this platform to discuss “the need for Jewish leaders to use their influence by boldly speaking out against words and acts of hate that tear us apart.”

Schumer reiterated his plea to combat hate both on the far left and the far right during a public appearance on Sunday. “We need to speak out strongly against both,” Schumer said at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Congressional Breakfast in Manhattan.

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) echoed Schumer’s sentiments in his address to the JCRC. “I can praise President Trump for many things he’s done, but I won’t stand by and watch an American president equivocate when it comes to anti-Semitism, and neither should you,” Maloney told the crowd. “And you shouldn’t not do it because you got a tax cut or because he is moving the embassy [to Jerusalem]. You should say that’s wrong. We should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time and say when he is right, he’s right, and when he’s wrong, he’s wrong.”

Added Congressman Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island, in a conversation with Mishpacha: “Yeah, Trump did do a tax cut, he did recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but you can’t forgive him for equating these anti-Semites with the protesters.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 698)

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