Israel’s president tells Pelosi: ‘We must keep Israel above political disputes’

The Israeli president’s call came after President Trump told U.S. Jews that they are disloyal if they vote for Democrats. 

By World Israel News Staff 

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday and stressed the common bond between the U.S. and Israel beyond party politics amid tensions between Democrats and the Israeli government.

Tensions began when Israel blocked Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) earlier this month from entering the country. Israel cited their itinerary, which referred to “Palestine” and not Israel and their support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestments & Sanctions) movement.

Israel later allowed Tlaib, on humanitarian grounds, to visit her grandmother in a village located in the Ramallah area, but the congresswoman backed out, saying that she did not want to adhere to Israeli restrictions on her visit.

Israel is concerned to maintain its bipartisan support in Congress, even though recent comments by President Donald Trump suggest that there’s only one U.S. party that should be home for Israel supporters.

“If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” Trump said on Wednesday.

In his call to Pelosi, Rivlin said: “I want to thank you for your unqualified commitment to U.S.-Israel relations and for being a true friend,” his office said in a statement.

The role of the Israeli president is ceremonial, though there have been cases of presidents who have prodded, or even gone over the heads of, prime ministers to advance diplomatic issues.

Rivlin’s office said that he quoted President Kennedy in his conversation with the House speaker: “Friendship with Israel is not a partisan matter. It is a national commitment.”

“We must keep the State of Israel above political disputes and make every effort to ensure that support for Israel does not become a political issue,” Rivlin added, according to the statement.

The Israeli president said that “he would be happy to meet Speaker Pelosi at any time, in order to continue to speak directly on all issues on which there is agreement, and on those which are sometimes even in dispute, out of mutual respect and deep appreciation for her work on behalf of the State of Israel over the years.”