By Jonathan Greenberg, Originally published in The Hill
In April of 2007, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Syria and met with its hereditary dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Despite criticism from the sitting president of the United States and despite applying countervailing pressure to existing U.S. policy, Pelosi had tea and chit-chat with a guy who would go on to murder hundreds of thousands (and counting) of his own people.
Today, she’s talking about her party boycotting a speech to Congress given by the elected leader of an allied sister democracy. Because a president’s agenda and command over U.S. foreign policy must be respected. When that president is a Democrat.
Leader Pelosi isn’t the only one pretending to fume about the planned speech to a joint session of Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was reported this week that Vice President Biden’s office won’t say whether or not he’ll preside over the joint session and a number of other Democrats are considering leaving “some empty seats.” Ron Brownstein, writing in National Journal, accused the Israeli prime minister of interfering in U.S. politics and of overtly aligning himself with “the American right.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) called on the Speaker to cancel the address. And New York Times columnist Tom Friedman calls it “churlish, reckless and, for the future of Israeli-American relations, quite dangerous.”