16 Tammuz 5776
Saturday, July 23 2016
James Zogby, the odious president of the Arab American Institute and long-time Israel-basher that was put on the Democratic Platform Committee by Bernie Sanders had it right a couple of weeks ago.
When responding to the fact that Clinton operatives were the ones who were responsible for the narrow defeat of the so-called Sanders Amendment calling for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” in the Democratic Platform for this year, Zogby expressed incredulity noting that Clinton herself had used similar wordage in the past.
And indeed she has. On numerous occasions.
Back in May 2009, Clinton set the tone for her attitude toward Israel during the entire period of her tenure as Secretary of State in an interview with Al Jazeera in which she spelled out what she and Obama were seeking:
“We want to see a stop to [Israeli] settlement construction, additions, natural growth – any kind of settlement activity . . . not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.”
From 2009 until she left the State Department in 2013, that is what we Israelis heard every time Clinton had anything to say about Israel–even during the 10 month period when we froze all construction in Jewish communities.
And then, just two years ago (2014) in her book Hard Choices, Clinton described her first trip to Israel in 1981 during which she and husband Bill visited Jericho:
“When we . . . visited Jericho, in the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.”
But back to the Platform.
Following the vote rejecting the Sanders Amendment, Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior foreign policy adviser, said: “Hillary Clinton’s steadfast support for Israel, and the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, are well known.”
Clinton has not exhibited “steadfast support for Israel”, nor has she demonstrated her belief in “the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship” (just think of her steadfast support of the Appeasement Agreement on Iranian Nuclear Weapons).
What is well known by everyone here in Israel is that Clinton supports Israel in the same way that J Street supports Israel.
Which is to say that–
*she has no problem with the U.S. meddling in Israeli democracy because she knows better than Israelis what is good for Israel.
*she has no problem with making angry phone calls to an Israeli prime minister about “settlements” (remember her 45 minute telephone rant against PM Netanyahu back in 2010–which she now characterizes as having been made because she is a “good friend” of Israel.
*and she has no problem with having vocal anti-Israel bashers on her staff (think of Sidney Blumenthal for one).
More than this, she has no problem with putting the entire blame for the lack of peace with the “poor” Palestinians on everyday Israelis as she did at a Saban Forum in 2012:
“So, look, I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy . . . So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people . . .”
In fact, it is interesting that the Democratic Platform includes a line that sounds a lot like her statement in Hard Choices in that it promotes Palestinian statehood because it would provide “the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”
And, not surprisingly, Clinton’s friends at J Street were quick to claim this inclusion as a major victory.
In a press release, the self-proclaimed “pro-Israel” group crowed:
“The new language breaks with the party’s practice of framing its aim of establishing a Palestinian state solely in terms of Israel’s interests.”
Finally, it is interesting to note that another J Street darling, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, was chosen by Hillary as her Vice Presidential running mate yesterday.
And who was the first to jump on the Kaine bandwagon?
In an online press release entitled “J Street Applauds Vice Presidential Pick Tim Kaine”, J Street had this to say:
“J Street congratulates Senator Tim Kaine on his selection as the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States. In the course of his lengthy career in public service, Senator Kaine has proven himself to be a great friend of Israel and a champion of pragmatic, proactive American foreign policy.
On Capitol Hill, Senator Kaine, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has consistently advocated the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only way to ensure that Israel can survive and flourish as a Jewish and democratic state and that Palestinians can live with independence and dignity. He was also a leader in the successful effort to defang the Iranian nuclear program through tough sanctions and effective diplomacy that produced the JCPOA agreement.”
A great friend of Israel?
Wasn’t it Kaine who was one of the most ardent supporters of the Iran deal? Wasn’t Kaine one of the few members of the U.S. Senate who refused to attend Netanyahu’s address to the Congress back in March of 2015? Wasn’t it Kaine . . . well you get the idea.
In choosing J Street hero Kaine, J Street heroine Clinton has chosen herself.