Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) Sends Different Emails to Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Israeli Constituents

Brad Schneider during 1/24/2020 Democratic Weekly Address
Screenshot

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) has been sending different messages to constituents and correspondents based on whether they support Palestinians or Israelis in the Middle East conflict, Breitbart News has learned.

The separate messages came to light recently when Schneider’s office apparently sent a letter intended for a pro-Palestinian audience to a pro-Israel correspondent by mistake.

Schneider’s office then informed the recipient that it had sent the wrong message, and sent the pro-Israel version instead.

On Tuesday, Schneider’s spokesman, Matt Fried, confirmed to Breitbart News that letters intended for a pro-Palestinian audience were sent because of a “coding error” to “a number of people who had expressed support for Israel’s response to Hamas rockets.”

Fried stressed that “Schneider’s position was the same in both letters: Israel has the right to defend herself and, like all Americans, we mourn the price innocent civilians on both sides of the border pay because of Hamas actions.”

(Fried’s response is reprinted in full, at the end of this article.)

It is true that Schneider says in both letters that Israel has the right to defend itself. But in the letter intended for a pro-Israel audience, Schneider calls that right “absolute.”

There are other differences between the two letters.

While he condemns “Hamas’s attacks in the strongest terms possible” in the letter for a pro-Israel audience, and refers to Hamas’s tactics as “war crimes,” he leaves those messages out of the letter to pro-Palestinian correspondents.

In the letter to a pro-Israel audience, Schneider also notes that “Israel goes out of her way to minimize civilian casualties.” He does not say that in the letter aimed at pro-Palestinian correspondents.

Moreover, in the letter for a pro-Israel audience, Schneider says that he merely “welcomed the news when a ceasefire went into effect”; in the letter for a pro-Palestinian audience, he adds that he “called on our Administration to work towards a ceasefire,” suggesting that he played an active role in pushing for an end to Israel’s response to Palestinian terror.

In his letter intended for a pro-Palestinian audience, Schneider also refers to “extremists” in Jerusalem; it is not clear what he means. He says that while he does not support current legislation to cut off aid to Israel, he believes that “that U.S. assistance should not be used in violation of our laws,” which Palestinian activists claim, falsely, that Israel is doing.

Here is Schneider’s message for pro-Palestinian members of the public:

Dear

Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns for Palestinian civilians amidst the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza. Please know that I appreciate the tragic conditions of the people living in Gaza and, like you, want everyone in the region to be able to live in peace and security. I remain as committed today as I have always been to seeking a just and lasting solution to the conflict between Israelis and Arabs, ultimately achieving a negotiated two-state solution—the Jewish, democratic State of Israel living side by side with a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I watched the developments in Israel and Gaza very closely and called on our Administration to work towards a ceasefire. I welcomed the news on May 21st that a ceasefire was agreed to, bringing calm to Israel and Gaza after 11 days of fighting.

I also share your concern for the violence that broke out in Jerusalem, and other communities in Israel. But the actions of extremists in Jerusalem, though aggravating the situation, are neither cause nor justification for Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization designated by the U.S. Department of State, to fire more than 4,000 rockets into Israel. Hamas fired these rockets at civilian areas in Israel and carried out their attacks from the vast network of launch sites and tunnels they intentionally built under civilian areas in Gaza, such as apartment buildings, hospitals, and schools.

Israel has the right to defend herself and protect her citizens from relentless rocket attacks. Unfortunately, because Hamas is intentionally embedded within civilian areas, Israel’s response during this conflict caused tragic harm to both people and property in Gaza. My heart breaks for all innocent civilians killed and injured, both Israelis and Palestinians.
Separately, as you may know, Representative Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2590, Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, on April 15, 2021. Though I do not support this bill as written, I do believe thatU.S. assistance should not be used in violation of our laws. All individuals detained by authorities, including children, should be treated humanely and fairly. More can be done by both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to ensure the health and safety of all Palestinian people, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress in pursuit of this goal.

I pray with all my heart that the restored calm opens the door to a sustainable cessation of violence. We know the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians hunger for a future where they can raise their children in safe and peaceful communities. The United States must remain engaged in the region, working with and strengthening all those pursuing peace. Additionally, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States must do more to ensure vaccinations for COVID-19 are available to all peoples, including all Palestinians, because we cannot successfully defeat the pandemic until the global population is vaccinated.

Thank you again for reaching out to me on this important matter. Hearing from constituents like you allows me to be a more informed and effective Member of Congress. If I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office at (202) 225-4835.

Sincerely,

Bradley S. Schneider
Member of Congress

And here is Schneider’s letter for pro-Israel members of the public:

Dear

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the State of Israel. I truly appreciate your input as I work to represent your interests in Washington.

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I watched the developments in Israel and Gaza very closely and welcomed the news when a ceasefire went into effect on May 21st, bringing calm to Israel and Gaza after 11 days of fighting.

As you know, over the course of 11 days, Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the U.S. Department of State, fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel. Hamas fired these rockets at civilian areas in Israel and carried out their attacks from the vast network of launch sites and terrorist tunnels they intentionally built under civilian areas in Gaza, such as apartment buildings, hospitals, and schools. Both actions are war crimes. As well, many of the Hamas rockets fell short of the border, hitting communities in Gaza.

Israel has the absolute right to defend herself and protect her citizens from terrorists’ rockets. Unfortunately, because Hamas is intentionally embedded within civilian areas, Israel’s response during this conflict caused tragic harm to both people and property in Gaza. I condemn Hamas’s attacks in the strongest terms possible, and my heart breaks for all innocent civilians killed and injured, both Israelis and Palestinians. It is true that more civilians have died in Gaza, but Israel goes out of her way to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas, conversely, goes out of its way to target civilians, and puts innocent people at risk by launching rockets from civilian and densely populated areas in Gaza.

I pray with all my heart that the restored calm opens the door to a sustainable cessation of rockets and attacks from Gaza. We know the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians hunger for a future where they can raise their children in safe and peaceful communities. That is why the United States must remain engaged in the region, working with and strengthening all those pursuing a just and lasting peace resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a viable democratic Palestinian state—living side by side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.

I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to strengthen support for Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East. Israel faces grave threats from Hamas and Hezbollah on her borders, from Iran’s nuclear program and all its other nefarious activities, and from the global effort to delegitimize Israel’s very right to exist. I will also continue to champion foreign assistance to Israel, including support for the Iron Dome missile defense system which has saved countless lives.

Thank you again for reaching out to me on this important matter.
Hearing from constituents like you allows me to be a more informed and
effective Member of Congress. If I can be of further assistance to you
on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or
my office at (202) 225-4835.

Sincerely,

Bradley S. Schneider
Member of Congress

Schneider represents the northern suburbs of Chicago, including heavily Jewish areas, in a district that was redrawn by Democrats after the 2010 election to exclude traditionally Republican areas and to make it easier for the party to win.

In spite of that, Republican Bob Dold, who had been unseated by Schneider in 2012, won his seat back in 2014, thanks to strong support for Israel. Schneider won the seat in 2016, on a wave of Democratic opposition to Donald Trump. He opposed the Iran deal in 2015, but also opposed President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal in 2018.

Here is the full response of Schneider’s spokesman to a Breitbart News query (original emphasis):

Most significantly, Congressman Schneider’s position is the same in the letters: Israel has the right to defend herself.

As any responsible Member should do, Congressman Schneider tries to directly address the specific ideas, concerns and questions of his constituents when responding to their correspondence.  As a consequence of a coding error, we mistakenly sent a letter to a number of people who had expressed support for Israel’s response to Hamas rockets – a letter which was actually responding to people who had expressed concerns for the Palestinians in Gaza. Once we were notified of the mistake, we sent the intended letter addressing their specific issues.  Congressman Schneider’s position was the same in both letters:  Israel has the right to defend herself and, like all Americans, we mourn the price innocent civilians on both sides of the border pay because of Hamas’s actions. 

Congressman Schneider has been a lifelong advocate for a strong US-Israel relationship and defender of Israel’s security, including as an original co-author of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act in his first term,  authoring the United States-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act in his second term, leading the resolution opposing the Global BDS Movement in the last Congress, and leading the Bipartisan Israel Relations Normalization Act in support of the Abraham Accords this Congress.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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