Nancy Pelosi affirms Democrat support for Israel is ‘ironclad and bipartisan’

March 26, 2019 GMT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Tuesday to pass legislation strengthening the U.S. commitment to Israel’s national security, as a show of bipartisan support for Israel.

Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Mrs. Pelosi promised to bring a bill that would modernize and codify former President Barack Obama’s Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel.

Introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch last week, the bill would provide $38 billion to Israel over 10 years and strengthen cooperation on intelligence and cybersecurity.

“It is imperative that Israel maintain its qualitative military edge, and America must ensure that it always does,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

The top-ranking Democrat also condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as anti-Semitism “masquerading as policy.”

Democrats have touted their commitment to Israel this week against a backdrop of anti-Semitic controversies involving Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and progressives calling for presidential candidates to boycott the AIPAC conference.

Without mentioning Ms. Omar by name, Mrs. Pelosi denounced questioning the loyalty of Jewish or pro-Israel lawmakers. She argued that the Democratic Party addressed this head-on by specifically naming it in their anti-hate resolution.

Republicans have accused Democrats of going soft on condemning anti-Semitism after that resolution, since it was expanded to specifically condemn anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of hatred.

“I was embarrassed that the last resolution had to be watered down,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday evening. “I was embarrassed that they split it.”

Mrs. Pelosi went on the offensive, suggesting that Republicans are trying to use anti-Semitism to gain a political advantage.

“Support for Israel in Congress is ironclad and bipartisan,” she said. “We will never allow anyone to make Israel a wedge issue.”