Netanyahu Allies Reject Schumer’s Criticism of Israeli Leader

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allies swiftly criticized a pointed speech by Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, calling the Israeli leader an obstacle to peace, with the Israeli ambassador to the United States characterizing such claims as “counterproductive.”

Mr. Schumer’s comments, which included a call for new leadership, amounted to some of the strongest yet by an elected American official. They demonstrated the rising tensions between the U.S. government and Israel, as many Democrats grow increasingly angry over the humanitarian crisis unleashed by Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli ambassador, Michael Herzog, called the comments “unhelpful” in a post on social media and said they were “counterproductive to our common goals.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing party, Likud, said, “Israel is not a banana republic, but a proud independent democracy that elected Prime Minister Netanyahu” and that it was “expected that Senator Schumer respects Israel’s government and does not undermine it.”

The Israeli leader has struck a defiant tone against international criticism of the way his country has conducted its war to oust Hamas.

President Biden and Mr. Netanyahu have sparred this month, with Mr. Biden asserting that the Israeli leader was “hurting Israel” more than he was helping. This week, a group of Democratic senators urged Mr. Biden to stop providing offensive weapons to Israel for the war against Hamas until it lifted restrictions on U.S.-backed humanitarian aid going into Gaza.

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