Schumer’s Sippenhaftung and the Children of Gaza

“Gaza” is an abstraction to most Israelis, including [partisans of Israel like] Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. A majority of the 1.5 million Gazans is not even from Gaza, but rather is from what is now Israel.

Americans do not know, and perhaps do not care, that 68% of Gazans are refugees living in 8 refugee camps, who were ethnically cleansed and violently expelled from their homes in 1947-48, in what is now Israel. And no, they were not combatants, just civilians caught up in a civil war of sorts. They lost massive amounts of property and their homes, which would now be worth billions, but have never received a dime from the Israelis in reparations or compensation. Then in winter of 2008-2009, the Israeli military destroyed one in every eight Palestinian homes, rendering even more people homeless.

Schumer accuses the Gazans of not ‘recognizing’ Israel, which is sort of like accusing the pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico of not ‘recognizing’ BP. If Schumer wants the recognition and good will of the Gazans, he should arrange for them to be paid for the homes and farms out of which they were chased by the Israelis, who made them homeless refugees in a kind of vast concentration camp in Gaza, and are now half-starving them.

Think Progress reveals that Schumer told an Orthodox audience:

‘ SCHUMER: The Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution. More do than before, but a majority still do not. Their fundamental view is, the Europeans treated the Jews badly and gave them our land — this is Palestinian thinking […] They don’t believe in the Torah, in David […] You have to force them to say Israel is here to stay. The boycott of Gaza to me has another purpose — obviously the first purpose is to prevent Hamas from getting weapons by which they will use to hurt Israel — but the second is actually to show the Palestinians that when there’s some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement. When there’s total war against Israel, which Hamas wages, they’re going to get nowhere. And to me, since the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, while certainly there should be humanitarian aid and people not starving to death, to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go, makes sense.

So anything short of ‘starving to death’, i.e. mass extermination in the camps, is all right as long as it convinces the enemy?

How about something short of starving to death, such as 10% of children being stunted from malnutrition? Would that be worth it? Or a majority of Gazans being ‘food insecure’ according to the United Nations? [pdf]. Both are the current situation, which is supported by Schumer.

How about Gaza children Looking for food in garbage?

Some 56% of Gazans are children, who hardly voted for Hamas but whom Schumer wishes to punish economically.

Meanwhile, Schumer doesn’t recognize a Palestinian state, but he nevertheless gets three solid meals a day.

Sen. Charles Schumer at crumpets and tea

As Think Progress explained, nothing Schumer said is true. A majority of Palestinians favors a two-state solution. Moreover, Palestinians are Christians and Muslims, who do in fact acknowledge the Torah (the Hebrew Bible, which the Qur’an praises as full of guidance and light) and David (whom the Qur’an calls “Da’ud.”) Schumer is shamelessly ignorant about Palestinian culture, but it is true that they do not draw from David’s existence or from the Qur’an’s praise of the Torah or Bible the same conclusion as contemporary political Zionists or Jewish nationalists, that Jews have a right to expel local people from Palestine and usurp their property without compensation. But then virtually no Jews drew such a conclusion in the United States until after World War II, and most diaspora Jews rejected such an idea until that era.

As for the idea that all Gazans, including children, should be economically punished until they agree with Schumer’s Zionism, there is only one way that makes sense. Since the children of Gaza did not vote for Hamas, if they are being punished for Hamas’s crimes, then it must be because they are related to Hamas members.

Punishing people because they are related to enemies of the state is called in German Sippenhaft or Sippenhaftung. Look it up. I don’t usually like such analogies from the 1930s and 1940s in Europe to contemporary Zionist thinking because they inevitably offend even a sympathetic Jewish audience. But it should be noted that Sippenhaftung was implemented against gentile German family members of dissidents such as those involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, and that Stalin also deployed the tactic of punishing relatives of perceived dissidents. And there is no other way to read Schumer’s prescription for putting Gazan children on a diet than as a contemporary form of Sippenhaftung.

And it is shameful, and he deserves the comparison for these inhumane sentiments.

Here is the video of Schumer saying what he said:

54 Responses

  1. Why talk about Hamas as though voting for it means that one is in league with the Devil. Hamas offered the people of the Occupied Territories an alternative to the corruption of Fatah.

    Here are some articles to read – in the MSM would you believe – that give the lie to most of what is said by US politicians and the MSM about Hamas.

    link to

    link to

    link to

    link to

    So let’s stop apologizing for Palestinians voting for Hamas – which they did in both the West Bank and Gaza.

  2. The deprivation and repression of Gaza reminds me in certain respects of the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Perhaps an extreme comparison for some readers but when one looks at the problems of access to food, medications and medical treatment, education, employment, and the possibilities for human dignity the photographs we see of Gaza´s despair look very much like some of the descriptions of what life was like in Warsaw as the noose drew tighter there.

    • Right on. If the situation were reversed, Jewish people would make the same comparisons and the capitalist, corporate media and the US government would be on their side.

  3. Credit where credit is due – this is a good piece. Note that Palestinians are required to conform to Zionist demands regarding what they believe and think, but Zionists recognize no mutuality there, no need to recognize the ideas of those they oppress. So it’s all about Might Makes Right. And the Might they have is might they wouldn’t have without US backing, but that’s a whole other story.

  4. Funny, I wasn’t aware that Senator Schumer was an Israeli.
    You might want to work a little harder to keep that “Jew” vs. “Israeli” distinction intact, you know so that no one can accuse you of anti-semitism.

    • I was being sardonic, Adam, but just for you I have altered the text. Just so you promise me I won’t be accused of being a bigot because I object to children being half-starved.

    • I would add that Israeli is quite an accurate description of Schumer, who given the choice between American and Israeli interests clearly puts Israel first, which is not especially related to being Jewish. Many non-Jewish Christian Zi0nists are just the same way, whereas it’s not hard to find Jews who are not committed to Israeli injustice.

      Maybe Juan was kidding, but he was very accurate. And I don’t see how accusing Schumer of being an Israeli, rather than a Jew can be bigotry against Jews. It’s a compliment to Jews to abstain from grouping Schumer with them.

    • I don’t think anyone would read into what Juan wrote what you are suggesting. No, Schumer is not an Israeli he is an American with a severe dual loyalty problem. His loyalty to Israel, coupled with his position as a US Senator , is bad medicine. Mr. Schumer will never die in a war nor will he ever know hunger but he will perpetuate such things on the Palestinians in silent loyalty to Israel leaving the Arab world to judge it as stemming from his position as an influential American. As America’s policy. Or, as in OBL’s case, to manipulate it as such.
      Now, I just said DUAL LOYALTY..and a damn well meant it. My last name is Langford, about as British as you can get. My entire family (both mother and father’s side) are from the south of England. I do not have a dual loyalty problem and am comfortable as an American living in a Gulf Coast state in condemning the British for recent dismissive statements of that God damn oil. My ancestry does not interfere with my judgment or with my LOYALTY. Now, if I was in the US Senate and spent my time spinning for BP and not looking out for the oyster farmers in Apalachicola….what do you think would happen? And it would happen in the form of “anti-Americanism”. Schumer gets a pass because of the odious use of “antisemitism” in the defense of Israel’s horrific and inhumane treatment of non-Israelis just as you have used it. The fact that harsh criticism of Mr. Schumer’s dual loyalty has not a shred of antisemitism in it matters not. The word is routinely used to deflect the horrific acts of Israel from criticism. His dual loyalty is the problem (the problem is what Schumer is and not the motives of criticism aimed at him) and he will never rid himself of it.
      No, he is not an Israeli. Nor is he much of an American.

  5. All this bull about not recognising Israel. How can anyone “recognise” Israel when it will not publicly proclaim what its borders are. It obviously does not recognise the UN lines set after 1967 so what are they? Nobody but a fool would recognise as legitimate Israel as a state until it has borders recognised both by the Palestinians and international community

    • Per UN resolution 242, Israel’s final borders are to be the subject of negotiation between them and the Palestinians.
      There are many situations of disputed borders, where the countries are fully recognized but don’t agree on what their borders are. You don’t want to get into trying to deligitimize countries because their borders are in dispute–you’d have the two largest countries in the world deligitimized.

      • In the meantime the Palestinians don’t get to have a state at all. If the big justification is that Jews needed a homeland, and that until then they had no guarantee they’d have any rights at all, then it’s both hypocritical and sadistic for Israel and Israel’s supporters to deny the same right to the people they expelled from the land they now occupy.

        With those other countries whose borders are in dispute, it’s generally recognised that it’s a provocation to cross over them and force the locals off the land their families have farmed for centuries. But in Palestine, it’s considered a God-given right to take what belongs to them and to hell with them if they disagree.

      • Yes, but the point you are blissfully ignoring is that all of those countries have declared their borders. There may be disputes but at least they say what they believe their borders to be.
        Israel hasn’t declared its borders. If it would have said in 1967 that it wanted its borders to include large parts of the West Bank, then the international community could have spoken out. Instead it just refuses to say anything and picks up dunum after dunum.

        • And if Israel were to declare its borders, the world would be up in arms that Israel was ignoring a UN resolution that its borders were to be negotiated.
          BTW the UN recognizes Israel through membership (not to mention constant criticism). IIRC Palestine has an observer–I can think of no reason not to give them full membership and a vote. As I noted, other members have borders in dispute, e.g., India/China and India/Pakistan, which doesn’t prevent full membership and participation.

        • This is really a response to Phud1 but I don’t seem to be able to reply to that comment.

          Now let me guess which member of the Security Council would veto any attempt to give Palestinians a vote at the UN …

        • It is often that people who start their comments with “Nonsense” then produce an argument that is full of holes and this is no exception. Phud1 omits some significant differences between Israel and, say, the UK.

          1. The UK has not sought to remove non-Christians from the state. The ones who were native there when the Romans came 2000 years ago were by and large converted to Christianity. The Anglo-Saxons and Vikings interbred with the locals as did the Normans. None sought to systematically drive out the locals. Though all of this was too long ago to be relevant today.

          2. The UK allows immigration by non-Christians.

          Not only does Israel prevent immigration of non-Jews and tries to reduce the number of non-Jews in the country, it severely restricts conversion to Judaism by non-Jews living in Palestine. I do not think any other state in the world imposes conditions like this. Even the more extreme Muslim states (not that I am a defender of their policies) will allow people to convert reasonably easily.

          As to expulsion of the Jews – please read about the Lavon affair. Even Israelis accept that the majority of migrants from Arab countries either went to Israel because of encouragement by Israel or because of Mossad activities like the Lavon affair which either accidentally or deliberately created anti-Jewish sentiments.

          link to

        • This is really a reply to trendless.

          It is a shame that so many people rely on sites like IfAmericansKnew for their information about Israel because you seem to be severely misinformed. Not only are non-Jews allowed to immigrate to Israel one does not even necessarily have to be Jewish to qualify under the right-of-return law.

          It is interesting that you mention the security council as well because right now Israel, as the only UN member state denied membership to its regional group, is also the only member denied a turn as a temporary member of the security council.

      • The issue is not about recognizing Israel, but about recognizing it as a Jewish State. This effectively means that it could never be otherwise, if a majority of its citizens were non-Jews, for example. About 20% of Israelis are not Jews, so to recognize Israel as a Jewish State would be to abrogate their rights.

        As to borders, I doubt if there are two other countries in the world where the difference between the versions of the borders proposed by the two sides differed so much as a proportion of the total land. I suspect if Israel were willing to cede that there should be a Palestinian state (recognized and with guarantees about non-aggression by Israel) whose borders gave it within, say 5% of its UN agreed borders as of 1947, they would be happy to accept and recognize Israel as a country. What about it?

        • Nonsense. England has an official religion (state church) but all other religions have full rights. Being an “Anglican state” or “Christian state” does not deny rights to Jews, Muslims, Catholics, etc.
          Are you aware that Arafat and Barak reached agreement within a few square kilometers on the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state, before Arafat walked out thinking he could get more? So I don’t think “proportion of the total land” is a factor.
          BTW I don’t think a possible American veto is any reason not to bring Palestinian membership before the UN. In fact an American veto would give cover to many states that don’t really want it but could vote “yes” knowing it would fail.

        • Not to mention, that I don’t hear you objecting to the dozens of Muslim states around the world where non-Muslims in fact have very limited, if any, rights; and where Jews have actually been expelled (and taken in by Israel, in contrast to the unwillingness of Arab/Muslim states to take in Palestinian refugees). Take Egypt as an example and look at the situation of the Coptic Christians who constitute–what, Prof. Cole, 15% of the population?

        • There are dozens of countries around the world, with total population in the hundreds of millions if not the billions, with an official state religion–Christianity, Islam, even Shinto (Japan). So why do people obsess over, and try to deligitimize, the one tiny country that is officially Jewish (and protects its religious minorities better than many of the others–even the Vatican has protested the treatment of Christians in the West Bank).
          There is a Christian cross on the flag of each of the Scandinavian countries; there are three crosses on the flag of the UK. The Islamic crescent appears on the flags of many countries, and Saudi Arabia’s flag consists of an Islamic religious text (and a sword…). Why is it so evil for the flag of one country to include the Star of David?

  6. Schumer, just like Wiener, is a bigoted and biased person. Unfortunately there are just too many such politicians from both parties who spew religious hatred, ignorance and have a split loyalty to their country. They forget that their allegiance, in spite of their Jewish heritage, should be first and foremost to US interests rather than to an out of whack right wing Israeli state.

    The Palestinian struggle is not a religious conflict, rather it is a colonial conflict. It is the last bastion of colonial exploitation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and violation of universal human rights. This is well understood by people of most countries in the world, if not all – except in Israel and in the US.

    Instead of unconditionally towing the right wing Israeli line our elected representatives should be looking out for our own interest. I fear for the time when there will be a huge price to pay for our complicity. And then, I am sure, the same politicians, and the MSM will be asking “why do they hate us”?

    • On second thought. The real blame ought to go to American citizens for continuing to elect Schumers of both parties.

      Some may say there is no other alternatives. That’s what both parties want us to believe. Stop voting for either of the two parties. It ought to be clear to any rationale person that both parties are the root cause of all trouble in our country.

  7. This vicious, dehumanizing, statement will draw as much attention in the MSM as a leaf falling in New England, in October, draws.

  8. Juan,

    Is the Ferghana going to explode? What is happening in Kyrgyzstan?


  9. What’s important here is that Schumer “knows”. His decisions are not of ignorance of the facts on the ground. He, and many others, not only endorse, they actively support.

  10. Appalling. Last week NPR reporter/Israeli apologist Peter Kenyon during an interview actually said that Gazans under the blockade were “not starving; they may not get a meal every day, but at least every second day.”

    Gosh, that sure sounds like starvation to me. Sure would be if it happened in Haiti.

  11. Schumer is a U. S. senator, his public statements on international issues are going to be viewed as a reflection of that of U.S. government.
    Not that there is any excuse to advocate such hate to stop only at starvation to death, but he should check his facts. Even the Palestinian president Abbas said that Hamas does recognize Israel to the 1967 borders. (as recent as few days ago on Charlie rose). So the vast majority of palestinians in west bank and gaza do in fact recognize israel.
    This combination of his ignorance, hate and arrogance is not just a dangerous combination for Israel, it’s a dangerous combination and threat to our national security here at home. He said the boycott will bring about peace, that is not the view of president Obama, not just from a humanitarian point of view but from a security and foreign policy view. So schumer should put a sock in it.

    • Perhaps your final sentences could look like this(?):

      “…If that is not the view of President Obama, … , then the president should tell him to put a sock in it.”

  12. “Their fundamental view is, the Europeans treated the Jews badly and gave them our land — this is Palestinian thinking […]”

    Uh yeah, that’s what happened, Chuck. Screw fantasy Jehovah, that’s objectively what happened here in the real world. Ibn Saud made that exact specific complaint to FDR and made him promise that the Palestinians’ status wouldn’t be changed without consultation with Arab rulers – which made Israel’s borders their business. The onus was on the colonists to prove that they weren’t Plymouth Rock set to land on the redskins and crush them out of existence.

    I bet Chuck doesn’t use that explanation in front of a secular New York audience that is a little nervous about the idea of people being run off their farms because of some old scrolls fabricated by self-interested temple priests thousands of years ago. No, with them he just makes history start at the Munich Olympics.

  13. The veil is pulled back and the world can see the soul-less in all their arrogant self-righteousness. This world is a wicked place with darkness in the hearts of our leaders.

  14. Monstrous and ridikkulous.
    Hamas was elected in a fair democratic election, monitored by UN observers.
    Bush and the Israelis didn’t like the result…so the blockade is about punishing democracy. Such a moron, Bush. The more democracy there is MENA the more islam there will be. See Turkey. See Iraq, which is an islamic state with shariah in its constitution and religious political parties. Watch Egypt, as soon as Mubarak goes.
    And the Israelis are just as stupid as Bush.
    Hamas is playing them just like Hizb’ played them in the Summer War.
    Beaucoup bad press and 1500 dead lebanese civilians later, Hizb’ got Sameer Kuntar after all and the Israelis got two dead soljahs.
    The blockade is the Friend of Hamas….the longer it goes on the more Hamas will receive in concessions, freed prisoners, and meme-war capital.

  15. “So anything short of ‘starving to death’, i.e. mass extermination in the camps, is all right as long as it convinces the enemy? ”

    Is that in any way inconsistent with American, indeed ‘Western’ foreign policy at all? We all did that to Iraq, we’re trying to do it to Iran and some of us have been attempting it in Cuba for something like fifty years now.

    While I certainly agree that it’s a hideous and hypocritical attitude to have, particularly for people who allegedly consider human rights and democracy to the cornerstone of their personal philosophy I’m always stunned to hear (or in this case read) someone who appears to be shocked by those sentiments in practice. The only thing that’s surprising about Schumer’s statements is that he’s so brazenly stated what most of his constituents believe and explicitly supporting what his constituents implicitly support.

  16. I also would like to take exception to the obviously coy use of the word “boycott.” There is no way that the Israeli blockade is anything but a blockade.

    They (Schumer’s handlers and his perceived constituents) use this due to political posturing and with no intention to rationalize their ideas with the facts on the ground.

  17. When you cause death or extreme suffering in order to affect political change, it is terrorism. That is one of the definitions of terrorism that the US wrote in order to be able to define al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.
    Therefore, the government of Israel is a terrorist organization. Of course, so to is the government of the US and most countries who supported the trade embargo on Iraq during the 1990s.

  18. If I remember correctly, the reason Hamas was elected over Fatah is that Fatah was considered more corrupt. The people of Gaza are being punished for voting for the least corrupt of the two parties running for election.
    Imagine that.

  19. Let’s not forget that at the time Hamas was created, Israel had been pushing Palestinians out of their homes and replaced them with Israeli settlers for decades.
    This clearly was a violation of Israel’s responsibility as an occupying power.
    Israel was allowed to do this by the US and the international community.
    I blame the US and the international community for the creation of Hamas.

    • You can talk for yourself, but not for the international community. The UN has condemned Israel many times. Lately the International court ruled that the construction of the wall by the Israelians was illegal. The UN asked for an inquiry on the breach of humanitarian laws during the last Gaza war, which resulted in the Goldstone report. And I could go on an on. It is the US who blocks any resolution condemning the Israelians at the UN and it is the unfailing support of the US which grants Israelians a disproportionated power.

  20. Collective punishment of occupied territories is a war crime. Shumer advovcates collective punishment of the refigees in Gaza to change their thinking. Therefore, Shumer is guilty of a war crime.

  21. phud1

    “Are you aware that Arafat and Barak reached agreement within a few square kilometers on the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state, before Arafat walked out thinking he could get more? So I don’t think “proportion of the total land” is a factor.”

    Not myth in fact.

    Have a read of this,

    link to

    And these as well,

    link to
    link to

    Both are very informative, vol 2 deals with the period in question.

  22. This’ll sound like a nitpick on a basically sound and informative piece by Dr. Cole, but “the Torah” does not mean “the Hebrew Bible”; that’s a pretty basic fact about an important religion there. The Torah makes up less than a quarter of the Hebrew Bible.

  23. […] is sort of like accusing the pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico of not ‘recognizing’ BP.” Juan Cole “Flags are good for two things, in my opinion – identifying a person or […]

  24. It is an open concentration camp, a GULAG created by those who beat the drums of Democracy, justice, equal rights and freedom of speech.

    Politicians generally have no shame or clothes.

  25. Schumer is incredbly repugnant on this issue, but he knows not of what he speaks.
    It is sad that he is so deluded and his audience is so deluded. Perhaps he speaks from cash accrued and seeks to maintain the delusion of his audience. It is good politics- for him, not for the American people.
    In either case, no good comes of this.
    The average American Jew is even more deluded than the typically deluded American, hard-pressed to believe that that was even possible.
    At least some of the Israelis still know and have a conscience and we can look to them to sort this out more sanely- to the extent they still have a voice which is not silenced.

  26. Professor, this is an excellent commentary. But there is something in your commentary that worries me. You mention compensation for refugees living in Gaza but you don’t mention their return. I think this is very worrisome. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be resolved unless refugees return home. I know that as the time passes this becomes more difficult – and Israel willfully prolongs this, but a strategic mistake of Palestinian movement and its supporters is that they don’t seem to see that the key issue in the conflict has always been the return of refugees. They have wrongfully replaced this human rights issue with the nationalistic issue of two states for two nations. Imagine if right from 1948, the main demand was return of refugees to their homew to live under Israeli law (yes I want to emphasize Israeli law.) Then the whole conflict would have turned into issue of civil rights not conflict between two nations. I know Israel would have resisted this, but the world would have backed Palestinians. In fact, if Truman had allowed the refugees to return, the world would not have the intractable problems it is facing now.

Comments are closed.