Senator Chuck Schumer is receiving a lot of attention from an interview he gave yesterday to a Jewish radio show for some very sharp criticisms of how the Obama administration has handled its recent dustup with Israel. Schumer called the tough talk delivered to Israel by Hillary Clinton and a State Department spokesman "counterproductive," and revealed that he told the White House, "If you don’t retract that statement, you are going to hear me publicly blast you on this." Politico's Ben Smith calls Schumer "the highest-ranking Democrat to object to Obama's policies in such blunt terms," while the Washington Note's Steve Clemons suggests that "Schumer's screed gets to the edge of sounding as if he is more a Senator working in the Knesset than working in the United States Senate." Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin at the blog Contentions points out one other intriguing remark from the interview, one which, she suggests, would drive the media bonkers if uttered by Sarah Palin instead of a liberal like Schumer.
Near the end of the interview, this is how Schumer reiterated his devotion to the cause of Israel:
"You know, my name .... comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov. And I believe Hashem actually gave me that name. One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer to be a or the shomer Yisrael. And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body ... "
We do think that the media, or the blogosphere at least (the most important part of the media, obviously), would probably flip out if Palin said God had a special plan for her in government. We already saw it with George W. Bush. Remember how he allegedly told Palestinian leaders that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq? How he reportedly told a Texas evangelist that God wanted him to run for president? Or how he was also reported to have told an Amish group, "I trust God speaks through me." Yeah, liberals/secularists/sane people didn't really appreciate that. Is Schumer saying something similar here that God has given him a mission to protect Israel? Honestly, we can't really tell what "Hashem actually gave me that name" is supposed to mean. We thought it was his name because it was his parents' name. We've reached out to Schumer's office for clarification.