Let’s Stop Shooting Blanks at Senator Schumer

By Ezra Friedlander
In the aftermath of the release of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, we’ve seen much jubilation.   But that was followed quickly by speculation from members of our community regarding the role or lack thereof of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in the advocacy pertaining to the President’s commutation of Rubashkin’s sentence.  In the blogosphere especially, there have been efforts urging people to contact Senator Schumer’s office to express their “outrage” and calling him out on this issue.  These recommendations were generally accompanied by lots of chest pounding and inflammatory language.
There have been those who suggested that even Nancy Pelosi, the non Jewish woman who represents California’s 12th Congressional District, has expressed her written consent for a commutation of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence.  And yet, Chuck Schumer, who calls himself the ‘shomer yisroel’, refused to write a letter.
I’m always amazed at how our community manages to shoot ourselves in the foot and display our political immaturity to the world.  Or perhaps the right verbiage here might be ‘political suicide’.
There’s an old expression – Those who know don’t speak.  And those who speak don’t know.
Dear readers:  Do you think for one moment that Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Leader, is not in contact with Schumer, Democratic Leader of the Senate, on a daily basis??  Do you think they don’t work together to formulate the official policy of the Democratic caucus?  Wouldn’t you think that Schumer had given her the green light of approval before she decided to write a letter as sensitive as this to President Trump?  Are we really so immature not to realize this?  In my opinion, this proves that those who are writing these opinions have zero understanding of the governmental process.
Some may counter by asking why Schumer didn’t see fit to write his own letter as well?  Honestly, I don’t have the answer to that question.  Sometimes there are questions that beg for an answer yet the answers remain unknown.  But I can assure you of one thing.  Nancy Pelosi would never write a letter of advocacy for Rubashkin without Senator Schumer’s advance notification and tacit approval.
Let me reiterate that I am not privy to inside information on this issue.  I am just surmising what must have occurred based on my understanding of the political process.  As a consultant who has been in similar situations in the past, this is my conclusion.
The Rubashkin case was very important to our community and I was as outraged as everyone else about the travesty of justice, as I was elated at the news of his commuted sentence.  We all have tremendous hakoras hatov to President Trump and appreciate this commutation.
But we need to understand that there is also a tomorrow. There was also a yesterday. And that yesterday included Senator Schumer coming out against the Iran deal.
It’s never a good idea to try to convince an elected official that he is not our friend.   I’m not just addressing the Schumer issue on this.  It’s something we have to realize when it comes to other officials as well.  Because guess what happens.  When you declare someone as your enemy, that is eventually what he will come to be.  Once we write him off, this is how he will come to be perceived.  And that is not responsible politics for our Jewish community.
The community must internalize that Chuck Schumer is as powerful as they come. In his capacity as Senate Democratic leader, there are a myriad of issues that the community approaches him on for support. And in many cases he responds positively. The day might come when he will be even more powerful as Senate majority leader. Is it really in the best interest of our community to be in a situation where he views us as confrontational?
We need to conduct ourselves more pragmatically.  For example, I personally supported Hillary Clinton for president.  Yet the moment that Donald Trump was elected, I accepted him as my President and work with the White House accordingly.  I decided to treat the office of the Presidency with the respect and honor that it deserves, and I’ve publicly condemned anyone who did otherwise.  There is a time, a place, and a season for everything.
We as a community need to internalize the larger picture.  Yes we are a vibrant and growing community, boruch Hashem, and we have much to be proud of.  But our numbers are minuscule in the grand scheme of things.  And we tend to shoot blanks.  We sometimes declare war on an elected official, and when that happens outside of our local districts, we become marginalized.  Elected officials at the highest level will pass us over and won’t even invite us to sit down at the table with them because of the immaturity with which we conduct our political and governmental relationships.
I say this as someone who is professionally engaged as the CEO of a public affairs consulting firm.  I am in no way a community leader.  But I see the handwriting on the wall and I feel it’s time for us to take stock of our actions and add real value to all of our political interactions and relationships.
As far as the wonderful news of the President’s commutation of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence is concerned – Now that’s something we can all be proud of!
Ezra Friedlander is CEO of the Friedlander Group a public policy consulting firm based in NYC and Washington DC.  He can be reached atEzra@TheFriedlanderGroup.com and on Twitter at @EzraFriedlander.


  1. I’m not following. You really think that she consults with Schumer for everything she does. I think that’s very elementary understanding. This isn’t major legislation or even minor. It was barely reported on in the msm. Mr friedlander, silence speaks louder than words!

  2. I feel sorry Ezra Friedlander ( he takes on lots of money from his political parties)

    But the truth is that ” Schumer ” did not delivered on his promise to help , rather he tried to block the way


  3. So a Senator gets to throw the Orthodox Community under the bus and we should just keep quiet? Last time i checked we live in democracy and Politicians are held accountable for their actions. If they fail us , we have a right to make it known. Just because Mr Friedlander is in cahoots with Schumer that does not mean we cannot voice our disgust and anger at someone who betrayed us

    • Well said. Friedlander is a politician like Schumer and other politicians who care more about their pockets and/or about being in cohorts with government officials than about the people – unlike President Trump who’s first and foremost for the people.

  4. Not surprising from Schumer, a typical Democrat, anti-American and a self-hating Jew who HATES TRUMP and tries to undermine his Presidency and should be voted out of office.
    He cried crocodile tears on Trump’s travel ban and is working with Pelosi to preserve protection for illegal immigrants.
    “I do not have confidence in [Comey] any longer,” he told Bloomberg but yet was mad at Trump for firing him.

  5. I know from people connected to the effort that he refused to write a letter because “the chassidim don’t vote for me anyway.”.

  6. Friedlander’s words are meaningless.

    It is not just Schumer’s lack of pro-active support for Rubashkin’s release that is in question to Torah Jews.

    Schumer waivered on opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. It wasn’t until a week before the vote in the Senate that he finally declared he would vote against the bill, and that it only because Hussein Obama allowed him to do so.

    Schumer added luke-warm support to President Trump’s declaration of Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel.

    In summary, Schumer’s loyalty to the Democratic Party is obviously more important to him than his support for important Jewish causes.

    Finally, as for Friedlander’s admission that he supported the election of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency: It is now widely-believed that if Clinton had been elected, chas v’shalom, she would have forced Israel into making concessions and surrendering Yerushalayim. I suppose Friedlander would be OK with that?

  7. Enough with you Ezra!! We the Orthodox Jewish Community know that you are an avowed leftist liberal appologist. Shame on you for trying to protect these evil people who are destroying our society!! I am sure you also were satisfied when President Obama pardoned 100’s of Drug Dealers.

  8. how much did friedlander get paid to write this garbage?
    it’s very naive to think the former speaker runs everything by chucky
    as friedlander says “those who speak don’t know” that would be referring to him and this oped

  9. “Let me reiterate that I am not privy to inside information on this issue”. “I don’t have the answer to that question”. “I am just surmising what must have occurred based on my understanding of the political process. ”
    Above are just a few of what you wrote above ,and based on these few lines,I do agree with you when you wrote
    ” And those who speak don’t know.”

  10. Thank you Ezra for all that you do and thank you Chuck for being such a great friend of klal yisroel! Shame on Matzav and all the people writing and posting these silly comments. Obviously, it is usually not the smart and capable people that write comments on blogs rather its a small group of hotheads so I know that you guys do not represent the silent super majority.

    • “Obviously, it is usually not the smart and capable people that write comments on blogs rather its a small group of hotheads”.

      You really ought not be so hard on yourself.

      I suggest you document the incidences to which Mr. Schumer has been an advocate for ideals that orthodox Jewry is partial to.

  11. I disagree vehemently with Mr. Friedlander. When (and if) I am inclined to take the time to rebut his various points, I may do so. Regardless of my personal opinion though, he’s a frum guy who doesn’t deserve vitriol and certainly doesn’t deserve to be harassed via his personal email address. I say this as someone who’s frequently mocked Senator Schumer’s self-proclaimed “Schumer the Shomer” title and plans to continue doing so.

  12. Dear Ezra

    it is a chillul Hashem that you work & publicly support schuck schumer for office & telling others to support him, when he is a toaiva supporter & meshumad, being that you work directly for him THAT MEANS THAT YOU ARE ALSO A TOAIVA SUPPORTER R”L
    how will you answer to Hashem when you go up to the olam haemes? the lies & the corruption that you try to fool & convince people to support the people you pay for play from the corrupt hillary to Schumer & Nadler etc…

    it is a major Chillul Hashem when THOUSANDS of yidden worldwide watch you support & work for these corrupt & Toaiva people. Now is the last chance to do teshuva by removing yourself from these wicked unhuman people. Don’t Tell Hashem that you were not warned directly of the punishment hat C”V awaits a frum yid that supports toaiva & works for dishonest & corrupt people thus making yourself into a a dishonest & corrupt person trying t oconvince people to support Schumer.

    I daven to Hashem & beg you to do TESHUVA ASAP before its too late

  13. Wow. Our self anointed Gadol Hador speaks. How dare we argue with Ezra Friedlander?

    Ezra – I am all for your theory and your approach to how to handle our elected officials. That is though, as long as you have the Gedolay Yisroel set the standard. Not you. We must learn from our history. Our greatest geula came from Mordechai Hatzadik refusing to follow the decrees of the politically powerful Haman Harasha. More recently we know how the Chazon Ish stood up to Ben Gurion. Rav Shach railed against the Israeli Government. Look at the current situation in Eretz Yisroel and how our Gedolim act and react towards their elected officials.

    Yes there are times we must be friends but there are times where we must rise up against. It is not Ezra Friedlanders place to tell us when and how. It is our Manhigim who will tell us. Schumer doesn’t run the show – G-D does.

  14. Friedlander is busy working to get a congressional gold medal for Anwar Sadat, while their peace with Israel has been cold for decades, and anti-Semitism runs rife and rampant there.

    Why doesn’t Ezra go spend some time in Egypt (not on an official VIP tour where he would be insulated from things) and maybe get hit with a doze of reality for a change? Maybe it will wake him up before it is too late.

  15. No matter what a politician does we are supposed to support him because he is in office anyhow?

    I do agree that in Golus there is a limit to how strongly we can publicly speak against a politician but that isn’t Ezra’s point.

  16. Is Mr Friedlander trying to insinuate that it was Pelosi and Shumer who let Rubashkin out, that the Democratic leaders are really in charge of presidential pardons, yet, in their great political wisdom, did not influence Obama to pardon Rubashkin along with thousands of Obama’s drug dealers?! Shumer is the most powerful DemocRat, Shumer was against “give nukes to Iran” deal, yet somehow the DemocRats made the deal?! We are not supposed to “declare a war” on an elected official, unless the abovementioned elected official is not a DemocRat, don’t criticise Shumer but Trump is a fair game?! How fascinating.

  17. to SHAULI
    the beauty of a blog is that we the average citizens who pay the salaries of politicians get to voice our opinion

    my opinion is just as valuable as ezra or your or any other self proclaimed FJJ ASSKan

    last time i checked the judenrat does not rule us

    Schumer was and is a sellout
    and let not ezra belive thta the oilam is a goilam

  18. EY causes are moot to us as Lev melochim V’sorm … However social causes are of paramount importance to the frum community. (let alone school vouchers, super high taxes and ridiculise regulations etc.) That being said how dare you insult our intelligence with this stinking article of lies!

  19. i read most of the angry replies who dont seem to understand
    i agree with ezra on the issue to not commit suicide
    in todays politics you can choose to to be partisan or nonpartisan
    every partisan decision made by trump will be undone by the dems when they win
    if aguda succeeds with tuition money and all those that like that are perceived to be GOPers that hate the dems and will vote 4 their opponent anyways they will undue it

    so yes even if schummer did nothing for us but is perceiving we r on his side or at least not against him it is better the if we r his enemy and he has huge sway as the leader

  20. But I can assure you of one thing. Nancy Pelosi would never write a letter of advocacy for Rubashkin without Senator Schumer’s advance notification and tacit approval.

    Huh!? There was no Democratic consensus or formal policy on Rubashkin. Mrs. Pelosi who is senior in rank to Schumer can write whatever letter she wants on an issue like this and doesn’t need permission from Chuck Schumer.

    As an aside I haven’t seen any major attacks on Schumer for his non involvement in this issue. That claim seems like an excuse to make a spin implying that Schumer was involved in something he wasn’t

  21. “Those who know don’t speak”?? So why is Freidlander writing this op-ed? Is it because he is completely taken in by “the Shomer” and his lib Dem cronies. Ezra is just trying to save face with his business buddies. So much for an “unbiased” opinion!!

  22. Just curious, Mr. Friedlander. If you were paid double by someone to disagree with Schumer, would you still support him? Let’s spell this out….WHY ARE YOU ANY DIFFERENT THAN A LAWYER THAT GETS PAID TO SUPPORT HIS CLIENT ???? The lawyer knows his client is guilty but support him anyways. You don’t agree with Schumer, or with crooked Hillary, etc… You get paid to defend them. So what is your opinion worth? It is so outrageous I can’t believe you still denigrate yourself with these silly articles.
    And Mr. Schumer, if you are reading this, save your money. We do not support someone who does not support us. WE DON’T CARE WHAT FRIEDLANDER SAYS !!!

  23. If we the taxpayers, pay Mr. Schumers salary, don’t we have the right to criticize and complain we he goes against OUR wishes? If we run a business and one of our employees is not doing what we pay him to do, don’t we have a right to lecture him and even fire him if necessary? How is Mr. Schumer any different? Why must we pay taxes? Think about that.

  24. the angry replies is because ezra and other self appointed know it alls and self proclaimed asskanim
    try to portray themselves as having the tzibur in mind when all they have is their pocket

  25. Some sell their soul for money and some for power. And they have the chutzpah to think that we don’t see right through it. Shame on hypocritical politicians and their PR enablers!!!

  26. so Friedlander is giving credit to Pelosi for a pardon that Pres. Trump did? HUH and he is saying that behind the scenes it was “shomer Israel” toeiva loving Schumer? Where was Obama for the last 8 years to pardon SMR? Where was “Shomer Israel” when it came to giving nukes to Iran and arming Hezbollah? Sure Chucky voted against with a wink and nod.

  27. This is the same guy who was going around, a little more than four years ago, with the Christine Quinn, saying she would be the best for the community. As if he knows best, as if he was appointed by anyone. And then DeBlasio was elected and now he is gushing how he is so great, a gitte neshumah.

    • I went to Friedlander’s twitter page which is linked to above.

      What did I see there? On Dec. 24, erev Kratzmech, the other day, he retweets a tweet from his buddy Brad Lander saying Merry Kratzmech “with gratitude to those who bring its spirit to life every day”, saying “my sentiments exactly!”.

      Gratitude to those who bring Yushke spirit to life every day? What about all the pogroms that happened from that “Kratzmech spirit” over centuries? Isn’t Ezra a chusid who supposedly know about ‘nittel nacht’?

      It seems that Ezra is becoming confused, he is hanging out in circles far from his roots in BP so much, ער ווערט פארגויעשט’ he is drifting away from Yiddishe mesorah.

  28. The truth is had Hillarey been elected poor Rubashkin would be sitting for 27 years and be released at 86 years old. These democRATs had no intention of releasing rubashkin. Hillarey did not need the orthodox jewish vote when she ran against Trump. She needed it only when she ran for ny senate. She promised the world to Dov Hikind on issues of Israel and never kept her word. That’s when Hikind turned on her after being fooled by her. Trumps support for Orthodox Jews dates back many decades. His two top lawyers are frum. His daughter became a Jew. And i read an incredible episode in a book called TNT Torah Novel Thoughts how in 1988 Donald Trump gave his private jet to save a little frum jewish boy who needed to fly from LA to NY for surgery. Commercial airlines refused because of the medical equipment. A year later 1989 Trump backed out of a helicopter where three of his top executives were killed as it crashed. The ALmigty spared Trumps life because he save a year earlier the little jewish boy from california. Trump has tremendous zechusim. Can’t wait to vote for him again in 2020.

  29. I’m not adding any comments about how nonsensical this op-ed was . There already were enough such comments.

    I’ll make a different observation about Schumer. Thirty years ago, as a congressman, he was a friend to our community. Today apparently he feels it to be more politically expedient not to be one.

    However he is still paying Freidlander to write such op-eds because either (1)he believes us to be very stupid and easy to gain our support or (2) he still doesn’t want to burn his bridges. If it is the latter that must be kept in mind when dealing with him.

    On another note, and this has nothing to do with Freidlander, whether someone is a friend or enemy to our community we are in golus. We have to be careful not to be more critical of a politician than a respected mainstream newspaper would criticize a politician it opposes.

  30. A few years ago a major political figure was ready to go all out for rubashkin and figuired he would just talk it over with the jewish senator beforehand. To his surprise instead of givig his consent shumer told him don’t touch it,and you really believe he gave nancy pelosi the go ahead.

  31. NOT ONLY DID SCHUMER NOT SIGN ON… check the list. He didn’t allow any Democtrat Senators to sign either!! Rasha Merusha!!


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