WASHINGTON – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Sunday condemned Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for linking pro-Palestinian protesters to Russia during a CNN interview in which she also indicated she wants the FBI to investigate any potential financial links.
Pelosi suggested on CNN’s “State of the Union” that some pro-Palestinian protesters who are calling for a cease-fire in Gaza are spreading a message that is beneficial to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“But for them to call for a cease-fire is Putin’s message, Putin’s message. Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message,” Pelosi said. “I think some of these — 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, as you know.”
A short time after Pelosi’s remarks aired on CNN, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad condemned Pelosi’s comments in a statement that referred to her remarks as an “unsubstantiated smear.”
“We are deeply disturbed by Former House Speaker Pelosi’s comments,” Awad said. “Rep. Pelosi’s claim that some of the Americans protesting for a Gaza ceasefire are working with Vladimir Putin sounds delusional and her call for the FBI to investigate those protesters without any evidence is downright authoritarian.”
“Sadly, Rep. Pelosi’s comments echo a time in our nation when opponents of the Vietnam War were accused of being communist sympathizers and subjected to FBI harassment,” Awad continued.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many young people, progressive activists, and Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, and Black Americans, have been protesting to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Millions more Americans support a ceasefire, including the majority of Democrats.”
Awad said Pelosi’s remarks show “the negative impact of decades of dehumanisation of the Palestinian people by those supporting Israeli apartheid.”
“Instead of baselessly smearing those Americans as Russian collaborators, former House Speaker Pelosi and other political leaders should respect the will of the American people by calling for an end to the Netanyahu government’s genocidal war on the people of Gaza,” Awad said.
Pelosi, who served on the House Intelligence Committee for a decade and continues to serve in an ex-officio capacity, did not say on CNN what evidence she had to back up her claim.