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.

Read more at Commentary

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


How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen