By MJ Rosenberg
You know what they say: no good deed goes unpunished. That is certainly the case with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her visit to
At a time (the Easter-Passover recess) when dozens of House members and Senators are visiting foreign capitals and discussing policy with foreign leaders, 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 'trying to introduce anew
The specific objection is to her meeting with the Syrian leader Bashar Assad. Of course few could object to what she told Assad - that he should stop trouble making in Iraq and Lebanon that the Israeli government is ready for negotiations that Israel has no bellicose intentions toward Syria and that Syria should use its influence to free Israeli prisoners.
In fact, David Hobson, a Republican from
Republican House leader John Boehner admitted that there was nothing wrong with legislators in general visiting
The answer isn't that hard. She went for the same reasons as Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as Henry Waxman (D-CA), the most senior Jewish member of the House, as Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim-American in Congress, as Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Rules Committee Chair, as Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV), the senior Arab-American in Congress, and Senior Defense Appropriator David Hobson (R-OH).
She went to advance US interests in the Middle East, believing that we can perhaps get more out of
The critics are feigning outrage because they don't like Pelosi and because by visiting Syria Pelosi has revived one of the Baker-Hamilton Report's prescriptions for ending the
On the other hand, if they choose to, they can ease our way out of
The Israeli government added to the Pelosi controversy by saying that Pelosi did not carry any private messages from
One can only hope that she was carrying messages from
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
In this context and with the Easter holiday just behind us, it is worth recalling Jesus' words in Matthew 5:9, 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.'
That is not exactly what the critics are calling Pelosi. But the New Testament notwithstanding, peacemakers are rarely praised in their own time while the cheerleaders for unnecessary wars are never held accountable for them.
Pelosi is too smart to expect plaudits for trying to deter war rather than simply standing firm behind a status quo that will inevitably produce the next one.
I hope Pelosi is not daunted by the criticism emanating from all the usual suspects. Her delegation's visit to the Middle East advanced
The writer is the director of Israel Policy Forum's