Glenn Greenwald writes how Hillary Clinton has vowed to tie the US even closer to Israel and to its extremist leader Benjamin Netanyahu and has been a stalwart apologist for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Former President Bill Clinton on Monday met in secret (no press allowed) with roughly 100 leaders of South Florida’s Jewish community and, as The Times of Israel reports, “he vowed that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would make it one of her top priorities to strengthen the US-Israel alliance.” He also “stressed the close bond that he and his wife have with the State of Israel.”
It may be tempting to dismiss this as standard, vapid Clintonian politicking: adeptly telling everyone what they want to hear and making them believe it. After all, is it even physically possible to “strengthen the US-Israel alliance” beyond what it already entails: billions of dollars in American taxpayer money transferred every year, sophisticated weapons fed to them as they bomb their defenseless neighbors, blindly loyal diplomatic support and protection for everything they do?
As always, there is not a word about the oppression and brutality imposed on Palestinians as part of Israel’s decades-long occupation. She does not even acknowledge, let alone express opposition to, Israel’s repeated, civilian-slaughtering bombing of the open-air prison in Gaza. That’s because for Clinton – like the progressive establishment which supports her – the suffering and violence imposed on Palestinians literally do not exist. None of this is mentioned, even in passing, in the endless parade of pro-Clinton articles pouring forth from progressive media outlets.
Beyond progressive indifference, Clinton has been able to spout such extremist rhetoric with little notice because Bernie Sanders’ views on Israel/Palestine (like his foreign policy views generally) are, at best, unclear. Like many American Jews, particularly of his generation, he has long viewed Israel favorably, as a crucial protective refuge after the Holocaust. But while he is far from radical on these matters, he at least has been more willing than the standard Democrat, and certainly more willing than Clinton, to express criticisms of Israel. Still, his demonstrated preference for focusing on domestic issues at the expense of foreign policy has unfortunately enabled Clinton to get away with all sorts of extremism and pandering in this area.
None of the leading candidates for the presidency promise an even-handed treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Sanders is probably the least anti-Palestinian, perhaps because of his strong views on justice prevents him from wearing the blinkers that the others have on, and because his ethnic Jewish background shields him, at least partially, from the charge of anti-Semitism that the Israel lobby in the US routinely flings at anyone who dares to voice even the slightest criticism of Israel’s atrocious treatment of Palestinians. Even though that charge has become devalued due to its promiscuous overuse and is now less effective in silencing dissent in the world of political analysis, it still carries weight when it comes to running for office.