From my Doha perch it's easy to avoid the whole "dual loyalty" debate currently raging in Washington. That does not mean that as a reporter I have shied away from raising it where appropriate
centres on whether "dual loyalty" is an appropriate term to use when describing US government officials who put Israel's interests ahead of America's, even when it jeopardizes US national security.
In effect, Schumer has done to the Obama administration the equivalent of what Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, did to Joe Biden, the US vice-president, on his disastrous visit to Israel in March.
Last week, as America's top Mideast envoy
(and former Democratic Senator, one might add) was on his way to Tel Aviv, Senator Schumer quite literally aired his contempt not only for Mitchell but the entire Obama Middle East policy.
When Biden was in Israel and there was this kerfuffle over settlements which is in Israeli Jerusalem five minutes from downtown and should never have been an issue to begin with...
Schumer went on to boast:
I told the President. I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk. Palestinians don’t really believe in a state of Israel. They, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.
Sowing instability in Obama's backyard makes it ever more complicated to pursue any meaningful changes to the decades of status quo that tilt in Israel's favour.
Its further unclear to me just how Senator Schumer, himself a Jew, thinks the Palestinians should be "pushed to get there".
It's one of just many provocations
going on in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that could spark into a wider, if not regional, Third Intifada.
That, or Schumer is among those who refuse the evidence, accepted by the US's other close foreign allies
, that the denial of those inalienable rights so strongly revered by Americans, including life, liberty, and property, are corralary to Al Qaeda's ability to draw fresh recruits.
Those reputational costs seem lost on Schumer. Perhaps that's because he has something in common with former President George Bush, "the God connection," as this New York Magazine blogger flagged
in Schumer's parting comments:
You know, my name .... comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov. And I believe Hashem [Orthodox Jewish term for "God"] actually gave me that name. One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer - to be a or the shomer Yisrael. And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body ...
One can sense that Schumer genuinely believes this stuff and is not pandering.
Political logic suggests he would be playing nice with fellow party members at this moment in time, keeping his disagreements less public, if at all.
Which is why I'm inclined to believe "dual loyalty" should instead be characterised as "single" loyalty when it comes to Israel.
All of this, of course, could be Schumer's savvy way of diverting attention from his own personal foibles.
As a member of the senate's powerful Banking and Finance Committee
, the body supposed to protect Americans from corporate schemes, Schumer's association with Paulson may prove as toxic as the assets so many corporations peddled off onto millions of middle class Americans, many of them Democrats.
Those unscrupulous links might sound typical coming out of Israel's knesset
, but one might expect the US's distinctive legislative body to be held to a higher standard, provided all its members are on the same team.