Bibi the 'Mansplainer'

(JTA) — Is Bibi a mansplainer?

Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, all but said so after Netanyahu’s Congress speech Tuesday:

“As one who values the U.S. – Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech,” she said. “Saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, “mansplainer” has been in the lexicon for at least six years; this Urban Dictionary definition dates from 2009:

Pelosi’s point – and I’ve heard this before from Democrats on the Hill – is that they feel that Netanyahu and his proxy here, Ambassador Ron Dermer, start conversations by presuming their interlocutors know nothing.

One “mansplaining” moment in Netanyahu’s speech, for instance, might be the passage where the Israeli leader informs Americans how many Americans Iran and its proxies have killed.

The tone of Netanyahu’s speech clearly matters, particularly with the multiple caveats at the beginning of his speech that he was not interested in reaching just one side of the partisan divide.

So was Pelosi oversensitive?

Consider another blip in the speech, having to do with Iranians.

Here’s the setup:

OK, condescension. And here’s the thrust, my emphasis added:

So, yes, it’s a throwaway reference to a tactic that actually prevails in the Middle East, the market walkaway. Big deal. To be offended by this would be political correctness run amok, right?

Maybe. Except it is reductive (imagine “and this often happens in a Jewish pawn shop – call their bluff.”). And it lit the Internet on fire, with a number of people decrying the reference as racist and “Orientalist,” akin to using “Jew” as a verb. While PC terminology may be annoying, one would think it might matter a little to a leader trying to reach both sides of the aisle.

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Bibi the 'Mansplainer'

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