Photo: A painting by John William Waterhouse completed in 1874 titled “Sleep and His Half-Brother Death”



I wrote a letter to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer who are my New York Senators. I wrote after November 14, 2023 when both of them voted to table, which means to bury, HR6126, the bill for $14.3 billion stand-alone emergency aid to Israel.

HR6126 passed overwhelmingly in the House, 226 to 196, including 12 Democratic votes in favor, and was defeated in the senate by a vote of 51 Democrats to 48 Republicans, the Democrats voting to table it so it could not be voted on.

Rivkah Rothschild

I wrote to Schumer and Gillibrand to say that they missed the opportunity to support Israel in its existential war against a barbaric, cruel and depraved terrorist organization, and that they should reconsider and support a new bill to provide $14.3 billion stand-alone emergency aid to Israel.

I asked them to stop playing politics with Israel’s future, trying to piggy-back on Israel’s wide support among the American people the aid that the Biden administration wants for Ukraine, to the tune of $60 billion.

I received a very well-written letter in response from Ms. Gillibrand, and no answer from Schumer.  I admit I had some scathing remarks for Schumer, mentioning that he spoke so strongly about his support for Israel at the March For Israel on November 14, 2023 in Washington D.C. at the National Mall, and then walked over to the US Capitol Building, a four-minute walk, to vote to table HR6126, and asked him how he could behave so treacherously.

Gillibrand answered with lots of mumbo-jumbo about a two-state solution and the rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes in the U.S., implying that they are of equal proportions and employing the horrid “moral equivalency” game of logic.  I guess she missed the testimony of Christopher Wray to the Senate at the hearing on October 31, 2023 when he testified that antisemitism is reaching “historic levels” in the U.S. He informed the Senate that 60% of all religious-based hate crimes are directed at American Jews who make up only 2.4% of the population. He didn’t mention a similarly alarming rise in Islamophobic hate crimes.

What I want to focus on, however, is not Schumer, or even Biden, although I certainly decry his spineless statements meant to placate the Muslim voters in Michigan and the violent and hateful Pro-Hamas protesters that appear almost nightly in the news.

What I want to focus on is this question. Where are our Jewish leaders? Because, I think they have all gone to bed. Meaning, they fell asleep at the wheel, and as a result, we, American Jews, are not only directionless, we have lost our collective voice to defend Israel against whatever stance the Biden administration chooses as the war, which initially had its strong support, continues and has it deeply concerned about the effect that supporting Israel will have on the Commander in Chief’s bid for reelection.

I speak to Jews in NYC daily about HR6126. For the most part, they didn’t hear about it. I ask again, saying “you know, the bill to give Israel $14.3billion in stand-alone emergency aid to fight Hamas.” I get a blank stare. I am almost certain that you, the reader, may also be finding out about the bill for the first time.

I looked up the major American Jewish advocacy organizations to see what letter-writing and phone call campaigns to urge support for HR6126 they had or have going, both before it was tabled on November 14, 2023, or afterwards, to demand that a new bill be presented and lobbied for that hopefully would pass in both the House and the Senate.

As I was doing the research, I drafted a letter to the Republican supporters of HR6126 in the Senate, particularly the esteemed Senators JD Vance, Eric Schmitt, and Roger Marchall, asking them to bring a new bill to the floor, requesting that this time they leave off the reduction of $14billion to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), decreasing the $80billion the IRS is being given over the next 10 years in the Inflation Reduction Act to a mere $66billion, so as not to create an obstacle to getting only three Democratic votes in the Senate that are needed for HR6126 to pass both Houses. I was thinking that if there isn’t a letter-writing campaign, I could start one with my letters, but knowing full well that the scope of the campaign should include every Senator and every Representative, i.e., a nation-wide campaign.

Here are my findings. Agudath Israel, an orthodox Jewish organization that engages in advocacy has a letter-writing campaign on its website. The advocacy letter to send to representatives says nothing about HR6126. It requests that the elected official support Israel’s ability and right to defend herself from terror and forcefully support the release of the hostages. Wouldn’t it make sense to demand a vote in favor of HR6126 or demand a similar new bill as the way to support Israel’s ability to defend herself?   

Next, I looked at the websites of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York (UJAFEDNY), the Jewish Institute for National Security of American, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, but I didn’t find any mention of HR6126 or a similar new bill. I entered “HR6126” and “HR 6126” into the search engine of the UJAFEDNY and the other websites that were searchable, without any relevant results. I entered the same terms into the Conference of Presidents’ search box and got this response: It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for.

Next, I looked at the Zionist Organization of America (“ZOA”) website, putting HR6126 and HR 6126 in the search box. It came up, and I was encouraged. However, upon reading the full article, it became clear that even though it came up, it didn’t come up as part of a campaign for letters and phone calls by members of ZOA, rather it came up  because it was mentioned at ZOA’s gala dinner on December 3, 2023 as part of the speech of one of its main proponent, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

I am all for the ZOA and of course a fundraising dinner is integral to its work, however, why wasn’t there a letter-writing and phone-calling campaign by ZOA to demand the passage of HR6126 in the Senate?

Finally, I looked at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) website, feeling certain that I would be rewarded at that juncture. I would soon be disappointed. However, on the way to AIPAC’s website my search engine delivered an article in The Times of Israel with disturbing statements that “Biden said during a campaign fundraiser in Washington hosted by former AIPAC board chair Lee Rosenberg.”

At the fundraiser that occurred on December 12, 2023 in Washington D.C., the President of our democracy, Mr. Biden, stated that Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu, must remove two important ministers from his government, strengthen the Palestinian Authority – a terrorist organization in its own right – and agree to a suicidal “two-state solution”.  Id.

As if that was not enough, Biden went on to accuse Israel of indiscriminate bombing in Gaza, Id.,  a claim that the IDF vehemently disputes, its spokespersons saying at every briefing that the IDF bombs Hamas military targets, does not bomb indiscriminately, and makes Herculean efforts to avoid civilian deaths, which sentiment John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesperson, voiced at a press briefing the day after Biden made his incendiary, false remarks.

And it is important to point out, as has been pointed out so many times, but Biden seems to forget: Hamas’ infrastructure is located in, and in tunnels beneath, homes, schools and hospitals. If civilians want to claim the right to civilian protection, they cannot allow Hamas to occupy their space, either above or below ground. I am aware that Gazans may not even be aware of the tunnels beneath their apartment buildings, etc., and that creates a terrible tragedy.

However, I wish to point out to Biden that avoiding civilian deaths under this paradigm is patently impossible due to Hamas’ war crimes of constructing tunnels used as command centers and for military transport in and under apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals.  International Law does not tie Israel’s hands when dealing with such war crimes, and neither should Biden.

According to Germany-based international law expert Stefan Talmon, Professor of Public Law, Public International Law and European Union Law, and Director at the Institute for Public International Law at the University of Bonn, “If Hamas stays and hides in schools, mosques, hospitals, and operates command centers from there, then they become legitimate military targets.” He added the following: “If Hamas sets up military positions in civilian areas, this counts as a war crime.” Even so, the IDF leaflets the areas it plans to bomb, telling civilians to leave.

Others that wish to tie Israel’s hands in her existential war against Hamas site the concept of “proportionality” to espouse the idea that since “only” 1,200 Israelis were murdered, decapitated, burned and dismembered on October 7, 2023, Israel’s response has to be around the same number. Proportionality is found in IL in contexts vastly different from this one. In fact, there is no International Law that contains anything remotely resembling this use of the concept of proportionality.

Biden continues, as if that wasn’t enough overreaching for one evening, and concludes by throwing a few not-so-subtle threats at Israel, saying that Israel is losing the support of the European Union because of its indiscriminate bombing, and that the rail and shipping corridor linking India to the Middle East and Europe is contingent upon Bibi making “some moves to strengthen the [PA]”.

Biden’s remarks are illogical and counterproductive. While he demands that the war be concluded soon, his comments surely embolden Israel’s enemies, making it take longer and cost more IDF lives to achieve Israel’s security objectives and end the war.

And what is perhaps even more disturbing than Biden’s remarks on December 12, 2023 is the fact that an AIPAC former President and current national board member was his host, giving him a platform from which he made these false accusations and not-so-subtle threats. In my opinion, Biden engaged in blatant and unforgivable abuse of Israel, Netanyahu, and the IDF, and he did so to benefit his bid for reelection. Just maybe, American Jews and all supporters of Israel should not vote for a spineless and cowardly Biden in 2024.

I don’t doubt that any high-level AIPAC member intends to use his/her access to the President to influence him to fully and wholeheartedly support Israel. I am aware that in 2022 AIPAC lobbied tirelessly  to convince voters not to elect candidates that defended terrorism against Israel, not to mention its long roster of important activities in support of Israel. Regardless of the work AIPAC can be proud of, and regardless of good intentions, which I have no reason to doubt, that an AIPAC leader provided a platform to Biden on December 12, 2023 from which he spewed overreaching, false and incriminated rhetoric undermining Israel’s wartime efforts, is a glaring example of the fact that our leadership has gone to sleep.

If we take Biden’s remarks to their full conclusion we come out with the following:  Israel is a lawless actor in the Middle East that is trying to murder as many innocent, non-military Gazans as possible; Israel is losing support because of her wanton behavior of indiscriminately bombing Gazan civilians; Israel is a dictatorship with Bibi as its dictator so he can change the makeup of the government at will; the people of Israel who have elected the current government are of no moment and the results of the last election can be ignored because they don’t suit Biden’s campaign objectives; Netanyahu needs to support and “strengthen” a different terrorist organization, one that supports Hamas and its atrocities, and invite it to govern Gaza for no other reason than the United States wants that outcome, and it must do so regardless of it being suicidal for Israel; and, finally, Bibi must embrace the two-state solution – after he fires two of his ministers – that the people of Israel oppose and help the United States create a terrorist state to more effectively threaten Israeli citizens and spill their blood.

Back to my main point. I am aghast that I don’t find even one American Jewish organization making the passing of HR6126 an imperative, including an all-out lobbying campaign with busloads of citizens storming the offices of their Democratic senators to demand that they pass HR6126 or similar legislation.  I am aghast that a recognized leader of AIPAC gave Biden a platform from which he made statements that undermine the sovereignty and reputation of Israel and the IDF in a back-stabbing attempt to diminish the wide-spread support Israel has in the United States so he can more easily pander to the Pro-Palestinian mobs in our streets, thus buying their votes. These efforts will, in any event, fail.

And I don’t understand why the speakers at the March For Israel on November 14, 2023 did not demand that the Senate pass HR6126 and tell the participants to follow Schumer to the Senate building and lobby for it. Where are our leaders to inform us of the high stakes for Israel of this legislation and tell us to act?

Yes, I am aware that Biden said he would veto HR6126 if it came to his desk. I didn’t believe him then and I don’t believe it now. But we won’t know if it never gets there.  And if it does get there, we should storm the White House and demand that he sign it.

Where are the Jewish leaders? Please, tell me where you are, as it appears that you have all gone to bed.


Rivkah Rothschild, is an attorney in private practice with offices in Manhattan. She graduated cum laude from Boston University School Of Law in 1997. Rothschild focuses her practice on not-for-profit and matrimonial law, with expertise in litigation and appeals in N.Y.S. Supreme Court. She is a follower of the late Lubavitcher rebbe with a penchant for analysis of world events affecting Israel and American Jewry.