Netanyahu Steamrolls CNN’s Dana Bash as He Fires Back at Call for New Israeli Elections | Video

The country’s prime minister says Chuck Schumer is “opposing the people of Israel” and that his comments were “totally inappropriate”

While speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned fire following Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for new elections in Israel and declared, “If Senator Schumer opposes [Israeli] policies, he’s not opposing me. He’s opposing the Israeli people.”

Schumer set off a firestorm Thursday when he broke ranks with Netanyahu and labeled him an “obstacle to peace.” Schumer has long been the country’s strongest advocate in the United States.

“I think what he said is totally inappropriate,” Netanyahu told Bash. “It’s inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That’s something that [the] Israeli public does on its own. But we’re not a banana republic.”

“I think the only government that we should be working on to bring down now is the terrorist tyranny in Gaza, Hamas tyranny that murdered over 1,000 Israelis, including some dozens of Americans, and it’s holding Americans and Israelis hostage,” he added. “That’s what we should be focused on.”

Netanyahu then cited November 2023 polling that indicated 82% of Americans supported Israel troops going into Gaza. A Gallup poll published on March 4, 2024, indicated that 58% of Americans have a “very” or “mostly favorable” view of Israel. While that’s still a majority positive, it’s the lowest favorability rating for the country in 20 years. Meanwhile, only 18% of Americans have a positive opinion about the Palestinian Authority government.

More importantly for the prime minister, he continued, “The majority of Israelis support the policies that we’re leading: going to Rafah, destroy the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions, make sure that we don’t put into Gaza instead of Hamas the Palestinian Authority that educates their children towards terrorism and the annihilation of Israel. “

“And also an enormous majority here, including 99 members to nine, oppose the idea of ramming down a Palestinian state down our throats,” he added. In February, 99 of the 120 members of Israel’s Knesset voted against recognizing a Palestinian state. An ultimate move to a two-state solution in the conflict remains the official policy of the United States and has for decades.

Bash pointed out that Schumer isn’t the only American elected official who has indicated disagreement with how Israel has pursued its stated objectives in the war against Hamas.

On Friday, President Joe Biden told reporters Schumer “made a good speech” and added, “I think he expressed serious concerns shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

To this, Netanyahu remained on the defensive and immediately cut her off. “No, no,” he replied. “There’s a fallacy that is being perpetrated here. And you should take polls, you’ll have your own polls, and check whether the people of Israel support the policies that I’m being criticized for.”

“That is, supporting the policies of going into Rafah — destroying a quarter of the remaining Hamas terrorist army, that’s like leaving a quarter of the Nazi terrorist army in Germany and saying, ‘No, we’re not going to finish the last quarter, and we’re not going into Berlin,’” he added.

Netanyahu still has plenty of supporters, including the conservative former Sen. Joe Lieberman. In an interview with the radio show “CATS Roundtable” that aired Sunday, the No Labels founder said, “For a U.S. Senator, let alone a majority leader, let alone the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in Washington, to tell Israelis that it’s time to get rid of [Netanyahu], that’s outrageous.”

American criticism of the war against Hamas has grown as reports indicate that over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and millions have been displaced since the outbreak of violence on Oct. 7. Israel’s planned ground invasion of Rafah, where 1.5 million Gazans have taken refuge, has drawn sharp condemnation from around the world.

On March 11, a group of senators sent a letter to President Biden that urged him to condition foreign aid dispensed to Israel on whether or not the country allows humanitarian aid into Gaza. The senators wrote, “We urge you to make it clear … that failure to immediately and dramatically expand humanitarian access and facilitate safe aid deliveries throughout Gaza will lead to serious consequences.”

The letter followed a demand from a group of House Democrats that Biden suspend aid to Israel if the country invades Rafah. The letter stated that any potential invasion would likely violate the terms laid out in the recently signed National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), which requires recipients of U.S. aid to provide “credible and reliable written assurances” that they are complying with international law.

Since World War II, Israel has received hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. aid and is currently the No. 1 recipient of foreign aid. Much of the approximately $3.3 billion the country receives each year is used to purchase U.S. military equipment and services under its Foreign Military Financing program. Aid from the United States makes up roughly 15% of Israel’s defense budget.

Watch the interview with Netanyahu in the video above.

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