Hillary Clinton’s relentless pandering on Israel

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.


  1. says

    I hate to think of the huge steps backward diplomacy is going to take if she’s president, especially with Iran.

    And yet she’s still better than the Republicans. How sad is that?

  2. patrick2 says

    Actually, Donald Trump, of all people, said he’ll be “neutral” on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    The question I’m asking myself is: which candidate would Netanyahu least like to have to deal with? Which one would make his life most difficult? Sure as heck isn’t Clinton. Wouldn’t you have to say Trump?

  4. brucegee1962 says

    I tend to think that, out of all the candidates, Trump is the most likely to get us in a war — not necessarily because he’s any more belligerent than the other candidates, but because he doesn’t believe in speeches, and instead seems to prefer spouting off whatever random thoughts are passing through his brain. He could easily draw a line in the sand without meaning to “Don’t do X or I’ll send over the bombers,” and then feel obligated to follow through. Or not — he doesn’t seem to feel that what he said yesterday is important if it contradicts what he thinks today.

  5. busterggi says

    I am sick of all candidates who have come damned close to saying that Israel is the true capitol of the US.

  6. says

    Bernie has made his stance clear right on his site:

    “Senator Sanders has long supported a two-state solution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and the Palestinians right to a homeland in which they control their political and economic future.

    The most recent violence in Gaza represented a particularly ugly and violent time in the dispute. Senator Sanders strongly condemned indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks. However, while recognizing that Israel has the right to defend itself, he also strongly condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza as disproportionate and the widespread killing of civilians as completely unacceptable.”


    I don’t think it could be more clear that he believes in a two-state solution.

  7. StevoR says

    @2. Marcus Ranum :

    Is SteveOr colnago80’s official replacement, or have we just been blessed with two of our very own rabid ultranationalists?

    As far as I know the only person who is official here is Mano Singham because its officially his blog.

    Colnago80 and I are very separate commenters here and neither of us -- me certainly suffer from the fatal disease of rabies.

    Nor am I an “ultranationalist” and I don’t believe Colnago80 who no longer contributes here was either. Again, Marcus Ranum you seem to fail to understand how English works and what some words actually mean.

    @6. busterggi : “I am sick of all candidates who have come damned close to saying that Israel is the true capitol of the US.”

    Um, which candidates exactly have ever said anything even remotely like that? For starters, Israel is a nation not a capitol -- did you mean capital -- so it should be Jerusalem. For seconds, the idea disturbingly widespread amongst the political leftwing that Israel (or the Jewish lobby) is controlling things behind the scenes is an infamous and rather disgusting anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which is also like similar such silly theories about Illuminati and Reptilians doing likewise false. Finally, again, who exactly are you referring to here and based on what?

    @ Mano Singham and the OP. You call it “pandering” because .. why?

    I call it doing the right thing for the right and logical reasons and because the USA should support its strongest allies and the most democratic and human rights respecting nations. Israel is a good and close US (&general Western) ally and deserves every bit of support and much less hate than it gets.

    Is it really “pandering” if Hillary Clinton sincerely and honestly is doing what she thinks is right here after looking into the issue perhaps in even greater depth and detail than you have done? I don’t think so and I think Hillary Clinton is correct here as is Israel. Do you think it would be fair to equally accuse you of “pandering” to the Israel-bashers in your audience here -- which BTW I am NOT going to do.

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