OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said over the weekend that Russia is “connected” to pro-Hamas and pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have popped up around the United States and called on the FBI to launch an investigation.
Her statement comes following a surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7 by Hamas fighters that left some 1,400 Israelis dead. In response, Israel declared war on the militant organization and has been engaged in operations against the group in Gaza since.
Pelosi’s remarks, made during a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Dana Bash, coincide with Russia displaying a non-hostile stance towards Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has Iranian backing. The shift in Russia’s approach can be attributed, at least in part, to Russia’s growing proximity to Israel’s primary adversary, Iran. Russia has supplied military drones to Iran, which are now being utilized in the conflict in Ukraine, the Daily Wire reported.
“For [the pro-Palestinian protesters] to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin’s message, Mr. Putin’s message,” Pelosi told CNN. “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,” she added. “Some, I think, are connected to Russia. And I say that having looked at this for a long time now, as you know.”
Bash asked Pelosi if she thought many of the protesters were Russian “plants.”
“I don’t think they’re plants. I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the FBI to investigate that,” the California Democrat responded.
Nancy Pelosi: Protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza “is Mr. Putin’s message… Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see…
“I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some I think are connected to Russia.” pic.twitter.com/hMwcM2WmKj
— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) January 28, 2024
A spokesperson for Pelosi later said that she has “always supported and defended the right of all Americans to make their views known through peaceful protest.”
“Informed by three decades on the House Intelligence Committee, Speaker Pelosi is acutely aware of how foreign adversaries meddle in American politics to sow division and impact our elections, and she wants to see further investigation ahead of the 2024 election,” the spokesperson added.
Earlier this month, the Senate, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, voted to table a resolution on Tuesday that would have required the State Department to report on Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The vote comes after President Joe Biden has twice bypassed Congress and approved weapon sales to the Jewish state, which is continuing to carry out operations in Gaza.
The resolution, in part, stated:
The Senate requests that the Secretary of State, not later than 30 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, transmit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, pursuant to section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2304(c)), a statement regarding Israel’s human rights practices that has been prepared in collaboration with the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and the Office of the Legal Adviser.
The resolution was tabled on a 72-11 vote, with 17 senators not voting at all.
Democrats in the Senate were upset with Biden after his first decision to bypass Congress and send additional weapons to Israel as the Jewish state continued its offensive in Gaza.
“The Defense Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had notified Congress about its second emergency determination to cover over $147.5 million in equipment sales, including new fuses and chargers for the 155 mm shells already purchased by the Israeli military,” the Washington Examiner reported at the time.
In a statement, Blinken said: “Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed, necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer.”