Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Does Schumer’s Name Give him More Authority?

When it comes to criticizing Obama on Israel, he says yes

Print Email
Sen. Charles Schumer addressing the AIPAC policy conference last month.(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, as a guest on a conservative Jewish radio program called the Nachum Segal Show, Senator Chuck Schumer, whom Politico calls “a hawkish ally of Israel” became the “highest-ranking Democrat” to boldly speak out against President Obama’s Israel policy of late, saying: “This has to stop.” Schumer made it clear that he opposes the tactic of pressuring Israel to cooperate. “You have to show Israel that it’s not going to be forced to do things it doesn’t want to do and can’t do,” he told Segal. “At the same time you have to show the Palestinians that they are not going to get their way by just sitting back and not giving in, and not recognizing that there is a state of Israel.”

Meanwhile, though, as New York Magazine‘s blog points out, Schumer stepped into some Palin- and George W. Bush-esque territory by asserting divine provenance to his rule: “My name as you know comes from a Hebrew word. It comes from the word shomer, which means guardian,” he said. “My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov and I believe Hashem, actually, gave me the name as one of my roles that is very important in the United States Senate, to be a shomer for Israel, and I will continue to be that with every bone in my body.” Of course, this tidbit of superstition may have been his way of pandering to his host, who clearly took the proclamation lightly, asking Schumer to be “a shomer against the value-add tax” as well. But if Schumer’s going to assume that God chooses his shepherds via their names, he would do well to remember that “Barack” means “blessing,” and “Emanuel” means “God is with us.”

Is Chuck Schumer on a Mission From God to Protect Israel? [Daily Intel]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

David says:

Schumer is clearly pandering, but then, so is the blogger. Barack does not mean “blessing.” It means “lightning”. (

Mati says:

Very clever, Hadara, how you undermine Chuck’s use of his last name to describe his role in the American-Israeli relationship. If we play out your name games, one would ask to whom is Barack a blessing and with whom is God? When you measure the three against each other – Barack, Emanuel, and Schumer/shomer – Schumer’s name still comes out on top since shomer yisrael is a familiar idiom in Judaism. Barack and Emanuel, though also translatable, lack that and therefore don’t suggest any solidarity or selflessness, as Schumer’s name does.

I’m glad that you are keeping the public square completely devoid of religion by inserting the point from the NY Magazine blog that “Schumer stepped into some Palin- and George W. Bush-esque territory by asserting divine provenance to his rule.” This is a typical left-liberal action: Any time a Dem steps forward assertively, independently, he is cast as a Bushie, just as Lieberman is, continually.

The main story here is that a major Democratic figure has criticized the administration’s posture toward Israel. Let’s not get caught up in a petty side issue.

Christian Zionist says:

Schumer may be wrong about the origin of his family name.

Schümer – nickname from Middle Low German schumer ‘good-for-nothing’, ‘vagabond’.

Moshik says:

Incidently, Barack in Hebrew means lightning and not blessing. Blessing is Bracha which anyway you look at it, for Israel, Barack is definitely not.

On recent Israeli poll, Barack Obama reached 6% approval rate. An unimaginable low unheard before. Traditioaly, American presidents approval rate in Israel revolves around the 50%.
I would dare say, that a single shomer isn’t enough to quite the uneasiness that president Obama triggers among the Israeli public.

Shalom Freedman says:

This snooty little put- downing by the writer of this piece shows where she is on the fundamental issue. Senator Schumer is right to be very concerned about the Obama policy of constantly pressuring Israel while pandering to the Palestinians and building up their military forces. The truth is that the U.S. has so far been absolutely impotent in its Iranian policy. But it has send a succession of envoys to Israel to prevent its taking a preemptive action against Iran. The stories of the deliberate humiliation of the Israeli Prime Minister by President Obama should outrage every fair- minded supporter of Israel. Senator Schumer is to be commended for his courage in speaking out now. Where are the rest of the allegedly pro- Israeli Senators?

That is really right,we all agree. I would like permission to carry this in my rss feeds

During a fall from a high place, a cat can reflexively twist its body and right itself using its acute sense of balance and flexibility.

Can I go back to losing weight the old way? You know starving myself and doing drugs.. Lol!! #runninlikecrazy


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Does Schumer’s Name Give him More Authority?

When it comes to criticizing Obama on Israel, he says yes

More on Tablet:

The Kindergarten Teacher Who Won Cannes

By Vladislav Davidzon — Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig stars in Auschwitz drama Son of Saul