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July 30, 2012 10:19 pm

Opinion: Nancy Pelosi Claims Republican Jews are Being ‘Exploited’

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the US Capitol. Photo: Pete Souza.

In a Bloomberg interview Friday, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said, “…Republicans are using Israel as an excuse, what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy.  So Israel that can be one reason they put forth.”  She then said that Jews vote Republican because “they’re being exploited.”

So, the Democratic party believes that legitimate Jewish concerns are the result of nothing more than “exploitation,” how insulting. Could one imagine the rightful outcry if a Republican made an offensive statement like, “Democrats talk about welfare to exploit the blacks?”

On both sides of the political aisle, rhetoric of this sort is unacceptable – civil rights organizations and Jewish communal representative bodies must forcefully condemn these offensive comments.

Later in the interview, perhaps realizing her earlier mistake Pelosi mistakenly claimed that President Obama “has been there [Israel] over and over again.” In fact, while President Obama hasn’t visited Israel as President, he did accept an award in Saudi Arabia, give a speech in Cairo, and hold town hall meetings in Turkey.

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This rhetoric of Pelosi is even more troubling considering that she recently hired Faiz Shakir whose former organization’s hostility to Israel was described by the Obama administration as “deeply troubling”.  Across the political spectrum Jewish and Israeli groups have referred to his language as unacceptable.

In a democracy, people vote freely – including Jews, and have many different considerations. For Nancy Pelosi to say that Republican Jews are being exploited is deeply insulting. Pelosi’s statements are unacceptable for any political official.

Nancy Pelosi owes the Jewish community an apology.

Ronn Torossian is a Jewish philanthropist and CEO of a Public Relations agency.

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