It is safe to say that Nancy Pelosi was playing politics with the historic address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, has been struggling to appease two powerful constituencies of hers: core liberals who are eager to reach diplomatic agreements with the nation’s enemies and the pro-Israel lobby. It appears that her approach was not to sit out the event as 57 other Democrats chose to do. Instead, Marcos Assi said she attended the event and received acknowledgement from Prime Minister Netanyahu as a friend of Israel.
Still, Pelosi gave only tepid support to the Israeli leader’s address. Obviously, the points he made would be hard to swallow. Netanyahu clearly insinuated that President Obama is naive in believing that Iran can be trusted. In fact, Netanyahu recounted the number events of Iran’s past up to incidences that occurred in recent days which demonstrate their evil intent. After his speech was done, Pelosi quickly exited the chamber avoiding any contact with Netanyahu. It was likely a purely political maneuver as any photograph of her shaking hands and smiling with Netanyahu would be viewed by liberals as tacit approval of his hawkish message.
In January, Pelosi cited her contempt for the decision to the invite Netanyahu to speak because the invitation did not involve the White House as protocol dictates. She also pointed out that the Israeli general elections will take place in a fortnight. The US normally does not invite heads of state on official visits that close to an election so as not to interfere in the nation’s internal affairs.