Pelosi defends Schumer criticism of Israel: ‘Act of courage’

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) from criticism of his remarks calling for a new election in Israel, calling his speech an “act of courage.”

Schumer, the most senior Jewish politician in the country and an ardent supporter of Israel, called for new elections in an address on Thursday. Schumer said Netanyahu has “lost his way,” adding that the prime minister has been “too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went after Schumer for the speech on Sunday, calling it “totally inappropriate.”

“The prime minister’s presentation proved the necessity of Chuck Schumer’s speech,” Pelosi said of Netanyahu’s reaction on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Dana Bash on Sunday. “Chuck Schumer’s speech was an act of courage, an act of love for Israel.”

“The fact that he made this statement should be listened to because Israel’s reputation is at risk because of what is happening in Gaza,” she continued.

Netanyahu also compared Schumer’s comments to meddling in the country’s democracy.

“We’re not a banana republic,” he said. “I think the only government that we should be working on to bring down now is the terrorist tyranny in Gaza.”

Pelosi added that the Israeli government must allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, adding to similar remarks from the Biden administration and other Democrats.

Major aid organizations have described a crisis in Gaza bordering on famine, with hundreds of thousands of people at risk of going without adequate food and water.

“Either Prime Minister Netanyahu is unaware or ill-informed,” she said about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “There is famine, there is dehydration, because it has not. Israel has not allowed the food and the humanitarian assistance to go right in.”

President Biden announced this month that the U.S. will construct a temporary port facility in Gaza to transport aid into the region, working around Israeli limits on ground transportation.

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