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Dems Warn Olmert About Playing Politics
The Jewish Daily Forward ^ | 4/20/'07 | Nathan Guttman

Posted on 04/19/2007 3:14:04 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator

Despite Concilliatory Talk, Tension Remains Over Criticism of Pelosi

Washington - Israeli officials and Democratic lawmakers are working to mend fences after the fallout between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following Pelosi’s visit to Damascus. But Democrats are still angry about what they see as Olmert’s desperate attempts to align himself with President Bush even if it means wading into American political controversies.

The latest flap erupted two weeks ago, after Olmert’s office released a statement — based on partial reports from a press conference that Pelosi had held in Damascus — suggesting she had done a poor job of delivering an Israeli message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli criticism of the speaker came as Bush administration officials were blasting the Democratic leader for visiting Syria.

Since then, Olmert is said to have apologized to Pelosi, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington has praised the speaker. But some Democrats are still upset at Olmert’s actions and attribute them to his weakened political standing at home.

“It’s all politics,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East. When asked what led Olmert to criticize Pelosi’s trip to Damascus, Ackerman said that the Israeli premier had “kissed President Bush’s ass.”

“All the criticism of Pelosi is a stupid, idiotic political bube moyse that the Republicans made up here in Washington,” Ackerman said, stressing that the entire debate had nothing to do with Israel but rather with American partisan politics.

“Bush is the only friend Olmert has left,” said a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill. “Our impression is that Olmert does want a good relationship with the Democrats, but he feels that he needs to support the administration.”

Despite his harsh comments, Ackerman, who just returned from a visit to the Middle East in which he met with Olmert, said he did not sense any tension in the relations between the Israeli leadership and the House Democrats.

In a speech Tuesday at the convention of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Pelosi insisted that her bipartisan delegation “delivered the message” — that Israel is ready for peace talks if Syria ceases its support for terrorism — “as we were requested.”

Pelosi, and other members of the delegation, said that in their meetings with leaders of the Syrian regime, they also stressed that Democrats join the Bush administration’s demand that Syria stop sponsoring terror and discontinue its meddling in the political life in Lebanon.

Rep. Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and joined Pelosi on the trip, called Olmert upon returning to the United States and told the Israeli leader that the delegation had conveyed to the Syrian leader the exact message that it was asked by Olmert himself to pass on. Pelosi telephoned Dalia Itzik, speaker of the Knesset, to make the same point.

Israeli officials have been working to clear the air after it became obvious that Olmert’s remarks were seen as a slap in the face to the Democratic leadership.

Olmert called Pelosi last week and thanked her for her efforts in Syria. According to sources who were briefed on the conversation, Olmert was apologetic and made clear that he did not mean to accuse Pelosi or other members of the delegation of mishandling the diplomatic mission.

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Sallai Meridor, issued a statement thanking Pelosi for her support of Israel and for raising the issue of captured Israeli soldiers in her meetings in Damascus. He described Pelosi’s efforts as “a unique manifestation of the strong bipartisanship friendship and alliance between our two countries.”

Another California Democrat in the delegation, Rep. Henry Waxman, said he does not see any long-lasting damage to the relations that Democrats have with Olmert, now that the disagreement over the Damascus trip has been settled.

“In my opinion, there is no problem between the Democrats and the Israeli government,” Waxman, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the Forward. “There may be differences of opinion, but on the central issue of supporting Israel and its security, there is no difference.”

But some Democratic activists do not see the flap over Pelosi’s trip to Syria as an isolated incident.

A month before her trip, Olmert spoke at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and warned against a hasty withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Olmert’s direct call on pro-Israel activists to support Bush’s Iraq policy came only hours after Vice President Dick Cheney warned the same forum of the dangers that setting a deadline for withdrawal would pose to Israel.

The backdrop for both speeches was the beginning of Democratic efforts in Congress to set a timetable for pulling American forces out of Iraq.

Olmert also praised Bush’s policy in Iraq after the two leaders had a White House meeting last November, days after the midterm elections in which the Democrats won control of Congress.

A Democratic staffer speculated that Olmert’s criticism of Pelosi came after “he got a call from the White House.” Lantos, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also suggested that the White House was behind drawing Olmert’s attention to the activities of Pelosi’s delegation in Damascus.

Israeli sources, however, told the Forward that while Israel does not wish to enter the American political fray, it has genuine strategic concerns relating to a possible rushed withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and sees a need to express these concerns in a variety of forums.

Tense relations between Israeli leaders and American politicians from either side of the aisle are not new. During the Reagan administration, Israel worked with the Democratically controlled Congress against the White House in a failed attempt to stop a sale of surveillance aircrafts of the Airborne Warning and Control System to Saudi Arabia. When Bill Clinton was in the White House, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged relations with Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich in what was seen as an attempt to counter the administration’s peace efforts in the region.

In contrast, Ariel Sharon, Olmert’s political predecessor and patron, maintained an excellent working relationship with President Bush but strictly refrained from taking any position that could be seen as explicitly siding with the Republicans, and he never made any public remarks about the conduct of the war in Iraq.

While the debate over Iraq has apparently created some discord between Jerusalem and Democratic leaders in Congress, on legislative issues there is no daylight. Democrats were responsible for curbing attempts by the Bush administration to provide support to the Palestinian Authority, and they have forced the State Department to cut back an aid package intended to bolster the forces of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. They have also insisted that the administration not establish ties with the new Palestinian government.

In Democratic circles, Olmert’s low approval ratings — down to 3%, according to one poll — have become a source of comic relief and in some cases have taken the edge off the anger at the Israeli leaders. “Olmert and Bush put together have less than 50% support,” Ackerman said.

Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress and is also a member of Pelosi’s delegation to the Middle East, was a bit more colorful in making the same point during his appearance at this week’s convention of Reform activists. “There are,” Ellison said, “more people who believe that Elvis is alive than those who support Olmert.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: burqagirl; dems; dhimmicrats; israel; nancypelosi; olmert; polosi; syria
To illustrate the difference between Israelis and American Jews, Olmert is on the Left of the Israeli spectrum, and he can't stomach the Democrats!
1 posted on 04/19/2007 3:14:07 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
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To: Alouette; SJackson

Ping.


2 posted on 04/19/2007 3:15:00 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Please pray for the refu'ah shelemah of Yehudah Ben Rivqah, father of Binyamin Jolkovsky.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Thought this was satire. It’s not, is it? Disgusting of the Dems to play politics.


3 posted on 04/19/2007 3:15:37 PM PDT by madison10
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Talk about a case of the pot calling the kettle black.


4 posted on 04/19/2007 3:19:26 PM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: madison10
Thought this was satire. It’s not, is it? Disgusting of the Dems to play politics.

Liberal Jewish Dems will still be shooting off their mouths about what great "lovers of Israel" they are when President Michael Moore appoints Tom Lantos our ambassador in Teheran!

Just watch the hypocrites turn out en masse for the annual "Salute to Israel" parade! I'd boycott it for that reason alone!

5 posted on 04/19/2007 3:21:12 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Please pray for the refu'ah shelemah of Yehudah Ben Rivqah, father of Binyamin Jolkovsky.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
But Democrats are still angry about what they see as Olmert’s desperate attempts to align himself with President Bush even if it means wading into American political controversies.

And Mme. Pelosi was not wading into Israeli foreign affairs?

6 posted on 04/19/2007 3:29:43 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High Volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel. or WOT [War on Terror]

----------------------------

Maybe they'll send Carville over to help his opponent in the next election. Nancy appears to have accomplished a great deal on her trip. Can't even make common cause with Israeli leftists.

7 posted on 04/19/2007 3:34:13 PM PDT by SJackson (restoring the Jews to their homeland is a noble dream shared by many Americans, A. Lincoln)
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To: okie01

I guess Pelosis ass kissing of facist muslim tyrants is just fine and dandy with hAckerman.


8 posted on 04/19/2007 3:35:00 PM PDT by Ron in Acreage (VOTE DEMOCRAT--TERRORISTS ARE COUNTING ON IT)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The liberals will sell out the Jews overseas, and in the USA.
9 posted on 04/19/2007 3:37:06 PM PDT by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: Ukiapah Heep
The liberals will sell out the Jews overseas, and in the USA.

And unfortunately, it seems that most American Jews will continue voting for them before, throughout, and after the process!

10 posted on 04/19/2007 3:41:42 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Please pray for the refu'ah shelemah of Yehudah Ben Rivqah, father of Binyamin Jolkovsky.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Whew! This is rich. The Democrats in their hyper-partisan war against Bush do all they can to undermine the war on terror. And if Israel gets in the way or takes exception as the bumbling Pelosi plays kissy face with the terrorists-supporting dictator Assad, the Democrats have the gall to accuse Socialist Olmert of getting into US domestic politics. Hey, Democrats, this is about Israel’s survival. It’s about the survival of civilization and democracy, not your insatiable hatred for Bush or your lust for power. Assad is linked in a formal alliance to Iran’s mad mullahs and Ahmanutjob, who deny the Holocaust, and seek the nuclear weapons to, in thier own words, annihilate Israel. Can’t Democrats rise above their partisan agenda?
11 posted on 04/19/2007 3:51:18 PM PDT by elhombrelibre (Al Qaeda knows Iraq's strategic value, yet the Democrats work day and night for our defeat there.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The Democrats need to be careful about warning Israel about anything.
12 posted on 04/19/2007 3:53:02 PM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
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To: Zionist Conspirator

If Bush wants to play hardball, he might deny to Pelosi the usual courties. If she wants to go abroad it will be without escort from the State Department or transportation by the Defence Department. The arrogance of the Democrats is amazing considering their slim majorities in the Congress. Barely 16% of the electorate votes for Democratic members of the House. This is not a shadow government but an alternate government.


13 posted on 04/19/2007 3:54:11 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
A Democratic staffer speculated that Olmert’s criticism of Pelosi came after “he got a call from the White House.” Lantos, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also suggested that the White House was behind drawing Olmert’s attention to the activities of Pelosi’s delegation in Damascus.

Pelosi goes to Syria and makes a fool of herself and somehow it was President Bush's fault. Damn! I knew it would come to this. The Dims are like a little child who blames everything they do wrong on some imaginary friend. They never take responsibility for they actions.

14 posted on 04/19/2007 3:59:00 PM PDT by jerry639
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To: Zionist Conspirator

I think Bush is a good man. He’s undercut by his favorite, Condi Rice, but Israel should push back against her.


15 posted on 04/19/2007 4:03:50 PM PDT by Stepan12 ( "We are all girlymen now." Conservative reaction to Ann Coulter's anti PC joke)
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To: GiovannaNicoletta
The Democrats need to be careful about warning Israel about anything.

True. They have the Mossad.

16 posted on 04/19/2007 4:22:39 PM PDT by pray4liberty (http://totallyunjust.tripod.com)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
This is the DNC whitewash of Pelosi’s blundering - it’s all Bush and Olmert’s fault. The Forward is a liberal rag, but shouldn’t have published this tripe.
17 posted on 04/19/2007 4:25:42 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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