Maybe Bibi is the orator (and Pelosi is the mansplainer?)

Ami Eden

Following the big speech, Ron tackled the burning question: Is Bibi a mansplaining Orientalist?

Ron was riffing on Nancy Pelosi’s harsh criticism of the speech, and working off of the following definition of mansplaining:

To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether.

One could make the case that this definition better fits Bibi’s critics than Bibi himself (for example… the president and secretary of state essentially lecturing Netanyahu about the results of the interim agreement; Pelosi declaring that she “was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech” because she was so insulted by it).

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At least one Democratic congressman, Brad Sherman of California, dismissed Pelosi’s claim that the speech was condescending: “Every speech contains passages which remind the audience of facts they already know, and conclusions with which they already agree. That is not condescension; that is oratory.”

The deeper problem with Pelosi’s playing of the condescending card — or, for that matter, the president’s comment that the speech lacked anything new — is that she confuses venue with target audience. Netanyahu wasn’t simply talking to the lawmakers seated in the chamber or to Obama administration officials listening in — he was making his case to the wider public.

Which begs the question: In the end, did all of the pre-speech criticism from the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers end up maximizing Netanyahu’s audience?

Ami Eden is JTA’s CEO and editor in chief.