Chuck Schumer: Top Jewish politician in US calls for Israel election and issues warning to Benjamin Netanyahu

The most senior Jewish politician in the US has labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an obstacle to peace and urged him to call an election.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, who has long been a supporter of Israel, said on the Senate floor that Mr Netanyahu’s government “no longer fits the needs” of the country and that its people “are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past”.

The top Democrat said in his 45-minute speech: “As a democracy, Israel has the right to choose its own leaders, and we should let the chips fall where they may. But the important thing is that Israelis are given a choice.”

Mr Schumer, who is the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate, called for “a fresh debate about the future of Israel after October 7 [Hamas attack],” and said: “In my opinion, that is best accomplished by holding an election.”

Israel’s next parliamentary elections are expected to take place in 2026 but could be sooner.

The senator previously positioned himself as an ally of the Israeli government, but his strongly-worded address saw him accuse Mr Netanyahu of putting himself in coalition with far-right extremists.

“As a result, he has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows,” Mr Schumer said.