M.J. Rosenberg’s just published weekly column on the brouhaha around Nancy Pelosi’s meeting with Syria’s Bashir Assad should go some way to silencing the shameful criticism emanating from the likes of Dick Cheney and the Washington Post (what does it tell you about the latter when it’s cuddling beneath the sheets with the likes of him?). Pelosi had the temerity of trying to advance a frozen peace process between Israel and Syria and frozen relations between Syria and the U.S. in the interest of lessening the bloodshed in the Mideast. For that she is lambasted by those brilliant minds who brought you the current carnage in Iraq. Here’s the Post’s niggling and M.J.’s riposte:
Pelosi is being skewered for, in the words of the Washington Post’s editors, “substituting her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican President.”
The Post accuses Pelosi of “try[ing] to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East.”
Heaven forfend! Things are going so swimmingly in the Middle East that the last thing anyone needs is for the 3rd highest official in the United States trying to resuscitate diplomacy.
And I do so enjoy hearing the “last unindicted Republican House leader” John Boehner’s inane comment on Pelosi’s trip:
Republican House leader, John Boehner, admitted that there was nothing wrong with legislators in general visiting Syria. “It’s one thing for other members to go,” Boehner said, “but you have to ask yourself, ‘Why is Pelosi going?”
You see, any old dumbass House member like Boehner can go to Syria. It’s only Pelosi whose motives should be questioned. Because she’s just the Speaker and, you know, the Speaker can’t have any agenda political or otherwise. She should, I suppose, just sit back in her regal Speaker’s Office like Cleopatra and await the world’s coming to her.
M.J. also notes the tempest in a teacup stirred up by Israel’s cutting the legs out from under Pelosi on the matter of whether or not she carried a peace message form Olmert to Assad:
The Israeli government added to the Pelosi controversy by saying that Pelosi did not carry any private messages from Jerusalem to Damascus. But the Israelis have been using intermediaries to convey information to the Syrians for a long time. It is inconceivable that the highest ranking American in memory to visit Damascus would visit Israel, en route to Syria, and not be asked to convey a message to President Assad from Prime Minister Olmert.
One can only hope that she was carrying messages from Israel. Why wouldn’t the Israelis seize that opportunity?
Pelosi’s visit strengthened America’s position in the region, and likely helped Israel on prisoners, on Hezbollah, and in its effort to avoid another war like last summer’s. It was a gutsy move by the new Speaker and one that deserves commendation, not criticism from those who are committed to the whole litany of failed policies of recent years. One would think that some of these pundits would look at the sheer carnage they delivered in Iraq – the 3200 American dead and the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians – and be shamed into shutting up
Out of decency and civility perhaps, M.J. didn’t delve into the matter, as I have, of whether or not Olmert deliberately undercut Pelosi in order to curry favor with his buddies George and Dick. It seems that Ehud now has to call DC and ask permission to go to the bathroom in his own Jerusalem PM’s office. Sometimes the word comes back from Ragin’ Dick: “Uh, not now Ehud hold it in a bit longer and then when Nancy makes a splash in Damascus that’s when you take your dump.”
And doing what M.J. does best, he placed Pelosi’s peacemaking efforts in the context of one of the biggest blunders and lost opportunities in Israel’s history:
I like to hearken back to the great missed opportunity of 1971. That was when Prime Minister Golda Meir rebuffed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s call on Israel to pull back from the Suez Canal. Sadat said that in exchange for a pullback of just a few miles – which would enable Egypt to re-open the canal — he would begin negotiating a peace agreement with Israel.
This week Yediot Achronot revealed new information about the missed opportunity. Zeev Tzahor reports that then-American Secretary of State, William Rogers, was so disturbed by Golda’s rejection that he enlisted Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, to try to persuade her to, at least, seriously consider the offer.
Let the Yediot columnist, Zeev Tzahor, tell the rest of the story:
“The 85-year-old Ben-Gurion was retired… His relations with Golda were poor, and he was not particularly eager to speak with her. Rogers implored him. The Egyptian initiative is a one-time opportunity, he said, but Golda has taken a dismissive, supercilious view of it. She admires you, maybe she’ll heed your advice. Ben-Gurion acquiesced, and asked his aides to put him in touch with Golda in Jerusalem.
“The brief conversation between them was acerbic. The people present in the room heard Ben-Gurion repeat why she ought to begin negotiations with Egypt…. While the people present in the room could not hear what Golda was saying on the other side of the line, it was clear to them that she was not interested in promoting the Egyptian initiative.
“Ben-Gurion lost his patience, lambasted Golda and said she was leading Israel to catastrophe, and terminated the conversation. For some reason, he placed the receiver down on the table and not in its cradle. The people present in the room heard Golda calling, “Ben-Gurion, Ben-Gurion,” but he refused to pick up the telephone again. He just kept repeating, “war is going to break out soon, war is coming.”
It did. Israel lost nearly 3000 men. Ben Gurion died a few weeks later. Israel ended up relinquishing not just the west bank of the Suez Canal, as Sadat had demanded but every last inch of the Sinai peninsula.
Until this week, I had never heard that Secretary of State William Rogers tried so hard to help Israel avert catastrophe. All I recalled about him was that the pro-Israel community despised him because he was thought to have applied pressure on Israel.
Little did I know that the pressure was in the form of the wise counsel of David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the Jewish state.
I hope Pelosi is not daunted by the criticism emanating from all the usual suspects. Her delegation’s visit to the Middle East advanced America’s interests and Israel’s too. As they like to say in that region: the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.
Imagine belittling an American political leader trying to actually LEAD by furthering efforts to promote peace between Israel and Syria. If Cheney or Olmert only did their own jobs they wouldn’t need Pelosi trying to do it for them.
M.J. also notes that the Wall Street Journal has gone completely loony-tunes and propses that Pelosi be charged with a federal crime for her Syria visit. Please God, circulate this link widely and let the world know that the neocons have completely taken leave of their senses.