House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement Sunday that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) suggestion Jewish voters were "being exploited" was "deeply insulting" and "patronizing."
Cantor, who is Jewish, was responding to comments Pelosi made during an interview with Bloomberg TV during which the Democratic leader suggested Republicans were trying to unfairly depict President Obama as having a strained relationship with Israel to further their domestic agenda.
"It is both patronizing and deeply insulting for Nancy Pelosi to suggest any Jew is 'exploited' for their political beliefs or that support for Israel is somehow an 'excuse' for anything," Cantor said. "Such thinking diminishes the importance of issues affecting Jews everywhere."
"I think that he will, because the fact is, when the facts get out," Pelosi said, "you know, as many of the Republicans are using Israel as an excuse — what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy. So Israel, that can be one reason they put forth."
The California lawmaker went on to say that Jewish voters were "being exploited" over their concern for Israel.
"But they have to know the facts," Pelosi said. "And the fact is that President Obama has been the strongest person in terms of sanctions on Iran, which is important to Israel. He’s been the strongest person on whether it’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling, any of these weapons systems and initiatives that relate to Israel. He has been there over and over again."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Israel over the weekend, as the GOP looked to shore up support with Jewish and evangelical voters. Romney and Republicans have hit Obama as a weak ally to Israel and accused him of failing to take a tough stance against Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.