WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress. Pelosi, who appeared visibly agitated during the course of the address, later released a statement calling the speech condescending.
“As one who values the U.S. -- Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech -- saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation,” Pelosi said in the statement. (The P5+1 are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Germany.)
Pelosi became visibly annoyed while sitting on the floor when Netanyahu began to argue against the deal being worked out with Iran. While Netanyahu didn’t call on Congress directly to pass sanctions, he did argue emphatically against Obama’s work. Pelosi stopped applauding and was often reluctant to stand for ovations. A scowl was visible on her face.
Pelosi turned to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer who was seated next to her several times during the speech. She then turned around and began talking to Florida Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings, motioning and pointing toward Netanyahu has he remained on the podium.
Pelosi said her unhappiness was because of her adoration for Israel.
“The unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel are rooted in our shared values, our common ideals and mutual interests,” Pelosi said. “Ours is a deep and abiding friendship that will always reach beyond party. Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli people. The state of Israel stands as the greatest political achievement of the 20th century, and the United States will always have an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”
Other Democrats joined Pelosi in criticizing the speech. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said Netanyahu repeatedly mentioned nuclear weapons to try to scare the American people.
“I resented his condescending tone,” Yarmuth said. “This speech was straight out of the Dick Cheney playbook. It was fear mongering at it’s finest.”