Enthusiasm for U.S. support for Israel is dying out among young Americans and the two countries must gin up a high-powered educational campaign to restore it, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer told a crowd of Israel supporters Sunday.
“We need a campaign aimed particularly at the young, using the media they care about and the language they use,” Schumer said, to convince them that “Israel’s very existence is still precarious.”
Schumer, a New York Democrat, made his remarks during a joint appearance with U.S. House speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi at the annual national conference of the Israeli-American Council in Hollywood.
Pelosi and Schumer were the highlight Sunday as the conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort, attended by more than 3,000 Israel supporters, wrapped up its four-day run. Vice President Mike Pence and Florida governor-elect Ron DeSantis addressed the conference on Friday.
Both Pelosi and Schumer agreed these are worrisome times for the U.S.-Israeli alliance, threatened by what they described as a rise in anti-Semitism combining with a general lack of awareness of how the relationship between the two countries benefits America.
Schumer described Israel as “a mighty aircraft carrier” in service of U.S. interests in the Middle East. “Israel does the job so American soldiers and sailors don’t have to be there,” he said. “Israel does more to help against terrorism than any other place.”
Added Pelosi: “It is in our national security interest” to support Israel. “It’s about security. It’s about values.”
Their unwaveringly pro-Israel message generally went over well with the crowd, though Pelosi momentarily hit the rocks when she spoke favorably of the so-called two-state solution — that is, the creation of a Palestinian nation alongside Israel — for the Middle East’s troubles.
Jeers and shouts of “No way!” erupted from the audience. “Focus on the word ‘solution,’” pled the seeming surprised Pelosi, and the protests quickly died out.
The atmosphere grew more sober as Schumer described what he called a historic tendency toward anti-Semitism once again on the rise in Europe.
“The poison of Europe, for millennia, has been anti-Semitism,” Schumer said. “You go to Europe, even places like France and Spain, Jewish people are afraid to live there.”