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 Dangers of Diplomacy with Iran

Aug. 21 2018

Although President Trump’s offer to meet with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic was rejected, the possibility of direct negotiations remains. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz warn that Tehran could use talks to stall and gain leverage over Washington:

The mullahs understand that just by staying at the table, Americans usually offer up concessions. [They] are betting that the Trump administration may become weaker over time, preoccupied with domestic politics. Best to entangle America in protracted diplomacy while awaiting what the regime expects will be midterm Republican losses in Congress and the return of a more flexible Democratic president to power in 2021. This is what [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei probably meant when he stressed that negotiations have to wait until America is softened up.

Diplomacy would surely blunt the impact of U.S. pressure. The mullahs believe they can undermine the escalation of [U.S.] sanctions by being diplomatically flirtatious and know well that America seldom disrupts negotiations with military action. Indeed, as a prelude to the talks, Iran may even resume its nuclear activities to frighten the Europeans and gain leverage by putting even more pressure on Washington to adjust its red lines.

Should negotiations begin, the Trump team should take sensible precautions to avoid the predicament of the Obama negotiators. The administration will need to maintain its maximum-pressure campaign and its negotiating demands. . . . Any negotiations with the Islamic Republic should be time-limited, and Washington must be prepared to leave the table when it confronts the usual pattern of regime bombast and mendacity.

Donald Trump should insist on direct talks with the supreme leader, as he did with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un: Rouhani is a lame duck without any real influence. The administration also should demand that Europeans join its sanctions policy targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program, support for terrorism, and human-rights abuses as a price for their participation in the talks.

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More about: Ali Khamenei, Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy