I preface this by stating that when in the U.S. I was a consistent supporter of the Democratic party. It is probably necessary to state that I am not a "neo-con" either. An ugly fight is shaping up between Democrats and Israel, but Israel is right on this issue and the Democrats are wrong.
Democrats are sore at Israel for defending Israeli interests and for supporting the government of the United States, an allied power. Democrats apparently believe that somehow they have the right to dictate Israeli government policy as well as trying to interfere in the policies of US executive. It is right and proper for the head of an allied state to support the policies of an allied government, even if Israel might have reservations about the Iraq policy of the US. It is wrong and improper for leaders of a party not in power to meddle directly in foreign policy matters that are the constitutionally determined province of the President of the United States, and it is even more wrong for them to meddle in the affairs of an allied state, to make false statements on behalf of the government of another country and the like. Shmuel Rosner has the story , but he does not grasp the implications. Nancy Pelosi was not appointed Secretary of State of the United States nor Foreign Minister of Israel.
When Speaker of the House Nancy came back from her Mideast trip, I wrote briefly about her frustration with the Israeli government and the way it handled her visit to Damascus: "Pelosi", I wrote, "didn't like the Israeli clarification. It made her look slightly ridiculous, like a rookie in foreign policy." I also mentioned that it was not her first frustration with Olmert. He knows how politically sensitive are the issues of American policy in the region but "nonetheless decided to present an explicit Israeli policy regarding Iraq identical to that of Bush in a speech to AIPAC."
And this wasn't even the first time that Olmert marched into this mine field. Visiting the White House in November, right after the Midterm elections, he felt the need to say that he is "very much impressed and encouraged by the stability which the great operation of America in Iraq brought to the Middle East." When I wrote about it back then (What was Olmert thinking when he talked about Iraq?) I suggested that "Democratic politicians I've been able to contact today were gracious enough not to attack Olmert for his statements. But let me tell you this: They weren't happy. My guess is that Israel is going to be hearing from them."
It is not Olmert who marched into minefields, but the Democrats. They are not running the United States government at present, and the Israeli government would be wrong to undermine the policies of the U.S. government. Olmert had little choice. He could not very well go to the White House and say in public, "Mr. Bush, your war in Iraq is failing and you are incompetent." As for Pelosi, she has no conception at all of Middle East politics, or of what damage she did by going to Damascus. You were not in California Nancy, but in Damascus.
On the other hand, the Israel government must deal with the fact that Democrats are in power in Congress now, and may be in the White House in 2008.