Where Does Hillary Clinton Stand on Israel?

March 23 2016

In an extensive exploration of the former secretary of state’s political evolution, Joshua Muravchik notes that among those who exert the greatest influence on her are two Jews with a record of hostility toward Israel. One is Michael Lerner, a New Left radical turned new-age rabbi and tireless critic of the Jewish state. The other, Sidney Blumenthal, whom she retained as an unofficial adviser while secretary of state, authored myriad emails to her—now available to the public—that her own correspondence indicates she took very seriously. Blumenthal’s son, Max, penned book of anti-Israel libels so atrocious as to make dedicated left-wing critics of Israel blush. Muravchik writes:

The messages [from Blumenthal to Clinton] consisted mostly of articles he was forwarding, often prefaced with a brief comment. . . . No other country received even a fraction of the attention he devoted to Libya, with one glaring exception: Israel. . . . In contrast [to the Libya emails], his communications about Israel clearly press a point of view about the country and its policies. They are unfailingly critical of Israel, blaming it for the absence of peace.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009 first publicly endorsed a two-state solution with Palestinians, Blumenthal wrote to Clinton that this was a “transparently false and hypocritical ploy” on which she should try to “catch” him. . . . When she prepared to speak before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he urged using the occasion to diminish [it]. . . .

Among the articles Blumenthal transmitted was one by the UK’s Jeremy Greenstock arguing that Hamas sought peace and quoting approvingly a UN official who called Israel’s control of imports into Gaza “illegal, inhuman, . . . insane, . . . a medieval siege.” . . .

The author whose writing Blumenthal transmitted most often was his son, Max. . . . Of course Sidney cannot be held accountable for Max’s writings, but of the articles Sidney forwarded to Clinton on the subject of Israel, he sent more by Max than by any other author.

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More about: Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism, Max Blumenthal, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations


The Impossibility of Unilateral Withdrawal from the West Bank

Feb. 19 2019

Since throwing his hat into the ring for the Israeli premiership, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has been reticent about his policy plans. Nonetheless, he has made clear his openness to unilateral disengagement from the West Bank along the lines of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, stating the necessity of finding “a way in which we’re not controlling other people.” Gershon Hacohen argues that any such plan would be ill-advised:

The political and strategic precepts underlying the Oslo “peace” process, which Gantz echoes, vanished long ago. The PLO has unequivocally revealed its true colors: its total lack of interest in peace, unyielding rejection of the idea of Jewish statehood, and incessant propensity for violence and terrorism. . . . Tehran is rapidly emerging as regional hegemon, with its tentacles spreading from Yemen and Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea and its dogged quest for nuclear weapons continuing apace under the international radar. Even the terror groups Hizballah and Hamas pose a far greater threat to Israel’s national security than they did a decade ago. Under these circumstances, Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank’s Area C, [the only part still under direct Israeli control], would constitute nothing short of an existential threat.

Nor does Israel need to find a way to stop “controlling other people,” as Gantz put it, for the simple reason that its control of the Palestinians ended some two decades ago. In May 1994 the IDF withdrew from all Palestinian population centers in the Gaza Strip. In January 1996 it vacated the West Bank’s populated areas (the Oslo Accords’ Areas A and B), comprising over 90 percent of the West Bank’s Palestinian residents, and handed control of that population to the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .

This in turn means that the real dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as within Israel itself, no longer revolves around the end of “occupation” but around the future of eastern Jerusalem and Area C. And since Area C (which is home to only 100,000 Palestinians) includes all the Jewish West Bank localities, IDF bases, transportation arteries, vital topographic sites, and habitable empty spaces between the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem metropolis, its continued retention by Israel is a vital national interest. Why? Because its surrender to a potentially hostile Palestinian state would make the defense of the Israeli hinterland virtually impossible—and because these highly strategic and sparsely populated lands are of immense economic, infrastructural, communal, ecological, and cultural importance, not to mention their historical significance as the bedrock of the Jewish ancestral homeland

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More about: Benny Gantz, Israel & Zionism, Two-State Solution, West Bank