Sometimes there’s a thin line between vile demagoguery and pure idiocy. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi straddled both during a Sunday appearance on CNN, when she smeared protesters who’ve been demanding a ceasefire to end Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian people in Gaza.

“The former House speaker said, without offering evidence, that she believed some protesters are connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” NPR reported.

 "For them to call for a ceasefire is Mr. Putin’s message," Pelosi said. "Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia. And I say that having looked at this for a long time now."

 Like Congress as a whole, Pelosi refuses to acknowledge that so many Americans are protesting because the Israeli armed forces have been engaged in mass murder in Gaza for more than three and a half months. And an inconvenient truth is that polling shows a large majority of people in the United States favor a ceasefire.

 Pelosi is hardly unusual on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan loyalty to Israel has been the political reflex, with few exceptions. But Pelosi is notably servile to Israel.

 Shortly before starting her second stint as House speaker in January 2019, Pelosi was recorded on video at a forum sponsored by the Israeli American Council as she declared: “I have said to people when they ask me – if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid, I don’t even call it aid – our cooperation – with Israel. That’s fundamental to who we are.”

 Such attitudes have fueled the massive flow of U.S. weaponry and other military aid to Israel, which has been greatly boosted since Israeli forces began methodically killing hundreds of civilians per day immediately after the Hamas attack on October 7.

 “All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S.,” retired IDF Major General Yitzhak Brick said in late November. He added: “Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”

 When Pelosi smears people who are expressing their moral objections to the continuing carnage financed by U.S. taxpayers, she is tacitly echoing what then-Vice President Joe Biden said in 2015 at the Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration in Washington: “As many of you heard me say before, were there no Israel, America would have to invent one. We’d have to invent one because Ron [Dermer, Israel’s ambassador] is right, you protect our interests like we protect yours.”

 The interlocking interests of powerful pro-Israel forces like AIPAC and overall U.S. foreign policy have led, most recently, to the extreme rhetorical and military support for Israel’s ongoing mass murder in Gaza from the Democrat in the White House and both parties in Congress. In this context, Pelosi’s channeling of tactics honed by the likes of Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn should not be too surprising. And Pelosi seemed to be channeling Richard Nixon when she told CNN that she wants the FBI to investigate the financing of ceasefire protesters.

 But there’s also another key aspect of Pelosi’s nonsensical yet calculated smear effort. Biden’s poll numbers have kept dropping, most recently while so many Americans – especially those whose votes he’ll need this fall – find his support for the Gaza slaughter repugnant.

 Grasping at straws, Pelosi evidently hopes for some political benefit by casting blame on Russia for how Biden’s deference to Israel has met with strong public opposition and erosion of support for re-election. Yes, her gambit is ridiculous – but at a time when the administration is revving up the cold war with Russia instead of genuinely seeking diplomatic solutions for the Ukraine war and the rampant nuclear arms race, Pelosi decided to throw down a handy demagogic gauntlet to tar ceasefire protesters.

 Like President Biden and so many others in the political establishment, Nancy Pelosi cannot imagine breaking with the murderous Israeli government and pursuing a foreign policy of peace instead of nonstop U.S. efforts to dominate as much of the world as possible.


 Norman Solomon is the national director of and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of many books including War Made Easy. His latest book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, was published in 2023 by The New Press.