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Israeli ambassador labels Schumer remarks ‘unhelpful,’ ‘counterproductive’

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog characterized Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Thursday remarks on Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “unhelpful” and “counterproductive.”

Herzog’s statement came in response to the New York Democrat’s criticism of Netanyahu on the Senate floor earlier Thursday, when he said the prime minister has “lost his way” and that his governing coalition “no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7,” the day of the Hamas attack on Israel.

“Israel is a sovereign democracy,” Herzog said Thursday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It is unhelpful, all the more so as Israel is at war against the genocidal terror organization Hamas, to comment on the domestic political scene of a democratic ally. It is counterproductive to our common goals.”

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history, issued a call for a new election in Israel and scrutinized Netanyahu for his handing over the war in Gaza, saying his vision for the country is outdated.

“As a lifelong supporter of Israel, it has become clear to me: The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7,” Schumer said during his 45-minute speech. “The world has changed — radically — since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) criticized Schumer’s remarks during the GOP retreat in West Virginia.

Johnson said Schumer’s calls for new elections in Israel are “highly inappropriate” and “plain wrong.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) echoed the sentiment, saying the comments were “way out of line” and “very inappropriate.”

Before his Thursday remarks, Schumer had largely stayed away from criticizing Netanyahu and his handling of the war in Gaza, despite the growing outcry from Democrats in his chamber.

Earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and seven Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to stop the transfer of weapons to Israel until the country removes restrictions on the U.S.-backed humanitarian aid going into Gaza.

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