Roy K. Altman:
‘My name . . . comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov, and I believe God actually gave me that name. One of my roles, which is very important in the United States Senate, is to be a shomer — to be Shomer Yisrael [guardian of Israel]. And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body.”
These are the words of Senator Charles Schumer, soon-to-be minority leader of the United States Senate, the most powerful Democrat in Congress. Senator Schumer has given this speech, or some iteration of it, hundreds of times at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and media outlets across the country. Many of my friends were at a similar gathering at the Aventura Turnberry synagogue in Miami in 2008, when Senator Schumer used his Hebrew name, shomer, to assure the congregants, many of whom were wary of voting for Senator Barack Obama, that President Barack Obama would be a friend to Israel. As he often is, Senator Schumer was persuasive and magnetic, leaving most of the voters who walked out of Turnberry that night feeling safe and secure — sensing themselves, in a word, shamur, that is, protected by their shomer.
Now, years later, Senator Schumer, self-proclaimed shomer of the Jewish people, is our only remaining hope to defeat a nuclear agreement with Iran that would, if ratified, alter the balance of power in the Middle East, condone the Islamic Republic’s nuclear-weapons program, infuse the Iranian terror machine with hundreds of billions of dollars with which to finance its proxies, and, for all practical purposes, prevent the United States from castigating the ayatollahs for future violations of their nuclear obligations.
On Thursday night, Senator Schumer boldly and resolutely declared that he would vote against the agreement, despite pressure from the administration. But his vote alone will not be enough. President Obama has promised to veto any bill rejecting the agreement — a move that would require Congress to override the veto by a two-thirds vote or else live with the consequences of an Iran deal that the president, in a show of brute force, has already submitted to the United Nations Security Council for approval. Two-thirds means 67 votes in the Senate, where there are now 53 Republicans, and 290 votes in the House, where there are 246 Republicans.
Many pro-Israel advocates believe that they can make up those 44 votes in the House. It is in the Senate where the math gets tricky. Both Senator Schumer and Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have committed to breaking ranks with the president and voting against the deal, and Senator Ben Cardin (D., Md.) seems increasingly likely to do the same. But rejection of the Iran agreement would still fall eleven votes short — eleven votes that only one man can deliver, the future minority leader, the man who would be shomer.
Leading a mutiny of Senate Democrats against the president on the Iran agreement would require our shomer to stand against a worldview the president has long embraced. President Obama sees the Iranian crisis as a problem of our own making.
Schumer, shomer whatever.
He waited for permission from Obama that there were not going to be enough votes to over-ride an veto before announcing his act of watchfulness.
The original shomer stood at the entrance of the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword to make sure neither Adam nor Eve (nor any of their offspring) could never get in before the Flood destroyed the place.
That is heroic watchfulness.
What Schumer is doing is stagecraft, PR for the sake of appearances.
Nanny G #1: I agree with your comments about Chuck.