Pelosi hears boos at AIPAC

Members of the main pro-Israel lobbying group offered scattered boos to a statement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the Iraq war has been a failure on several scores. 

The boos, mixed with some polite applause, stood in stark contrast to the reception House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) received minutes earlier. Most of the crowd of 5,000 to 6,000 stood and loudly applauded Boehner when he said the U.S. had no choice but to win in Iraq. 

Pelosi and Boehner were speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual meeting. AIPAC has not taken a position on the war in Iraq or the supplemental spending bill to be considered this week by the House Appropriations Committee, but much of Boehner’s speech was about the future of the Iraq conflict. 

Boehner sought to link the fight in Iraq to the future of Israel, as he said a failure in Iraq would pose a direct threat to Israel. 

Pelosi said the U.S. military campaign in Iraq had to be judged on three accounts: whether it makes the U.S. safer, the U.S. military stronger and the region more stable. 

“The war in Iraq fails on all three counts,” Pelosi said. Some of the crowd applauded before catcalls and boos could be heard. A spokesman for AIPAC argued the boos were in response to those clapping for Pelosi. 

AIPAC leaders have said about 6,000 of their members are in town for this week’s annual meeting, which ends today. Members are set to lobby individual lawmakers on the Hill for the rest of today. A priority for the group is to convince Congress to approve tougher sanctions on Iran, which is seen as a growing threat to Israel.