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May 31, 2005

With Hand on Heart: Pelosi Admits Israel Comes First


by Joshua Frank

"The lessons we should learn from all
The fighting in the days of old
When providence bestowed divine
The sanctuary purified
Let lightning circle all you hold
And don't uproot the olive grove."

- Mirah, "Jerusalem"

I think it is finally time we stood up and thanked Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the darling Democrat from the Bay Area who leads her party in the House. Pelosi's recent speech to the Israel-American lobby AIPAC, the second largest lobby in Washington, was monumental truly unparalleled in its candor.

Despite the fact that AIPAC was recently busted for spying on the United States, Pelosi, along with many other top bureaucrats from Washington, gushed effusions of praise on the foreign power. "There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza," Pelosi said as she rallied AIPAC loyalists. "This is absolute nonsense. In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist."

Apparently Pelosi has never asked Palestinians what they think of Israel's brutality. Not that she hasn't witnessed the occupation firsthand; Pelosi is just not concerned in the least with the Palestinian resistance.

"This spring, I was in Israel as part of a congressional trip that also took us to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq," said Pelosi. "One of the most powerful experiences was taking a helicopter toward Gaza, over the path of the security fence. We set down in a field that belonged to a local kibbutz. It was a cool but sunny day, and the field was starting to bloom with mustard. Mustard is a crop that grows in California, and it felt at that moment as if I were home. And then we were told that the reason we had to land in that field, as opposed to our actual destination, was because there had been an infiltration that morning, and they weren't sure how secure the area was. And that point alone brought us back to the daily reality of Israel: even moments of peace and beauty are haunted by the specter of violence."

Pelosi, like so many other Democrats and Republicans in D.C., does not appreciate the asymmetry of the conflict. She cannot understand that Palestinians are faced with violence every day as their livelihoods and homes are uprooted to make way for new Israeli settlements. Never mind that the farm collective where Pelosi landed in her fancy helicopter was at one time operated by Palestinian farmers. For the land, according to Pelosi, has always belonged to the state of Israel.

"One thing, however is unchanged," Pelosi added. "America's commitment to the safety and security of the state of Israel is unwavering. America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship."

Sadly, Palestinians don't figure into Pelosi's lopsided equation; those darn Arabs just don't matter. And when Pelosi speaks of "safety and security," it's only Israelis she's talking about. While Pelosi ignored Israel's vast arsenal of chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry, along with the numerous UN resolutions the country has broken, she still had the audacity to lash out at the latest troublemaker in the Middle East: Iran.

"The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran. For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology."

So, three cheers for Pelosi! Her honesty has been crudely insightful. Especially given the fact that two AIPAC staffers have just been indicted for espionage by the U.S. government.

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  • Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, just published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted through Josh's blog at www.brickburner.org. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

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