Hillary Clinton’s Troubling Transformation on Israel:
Who Is This Woman?
By Susan L. Rosenbluth, The Jewish Voice and Opinion, Englewood, NJ
July 2009Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein has difficulty remembering that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the same woman who, as New York’s junior US senator, was a vocal supporter of Israel and an enthusiastic adherent of the principle that an undivided Jerusalem would remain the capital of the Jewish state.
He is convinced that in her current position, Mrs. Clinton is now "deaf" to the words, sentiments, and policies that she espoused in the US Senate from 2001 to 2009.
"It has taken only a matter of months to confirm that, on issues pertaining to Israel, Secretary of State Clinton bears little resemblance to Senator Clinton," said Mr. Klein.
An Undivided JerusalemFor example, in September 2007, she issued a position paper in which she wrote that "Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, must never be questioned."
In June 2004, she voted for the Senate resolution endorsing President George W. Bush’s letter to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that envisaged Israel retaining "major Israeli population centers" in Judea and Samaria and "defensible borders" in any final peace agreement.
Now that she is secretary of state, her positions on Israel have undergone a startling and, for Mr. Klein, "troubling transformation." She is advocating the policies of the Obama administration, and, in that capacity, she has even denied the existence of the letter from Mr. Bush which she, as senator, had endorsed.
IncitementMr. Klein recalled that, as senator, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly warned of the monumental dangers inherent in Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder of Jews. She noted that the brazen, open calls for violence that could be heard in PA-controlled schools, media, and mosques would have "dire consequences for peace for generations to come."
"It is clear that the Palestinian Authority, as we see on PATV, is complicit" in terrorist attacks and that we should condition US aid to the PA on a "cessation of Palestinian propaganda and hateful rhetoric," Sen. Clinton once said.
But as secretary state, she now enthusiastically supports an unconditional increase in US aid--$900 million annually—to the PA and Gaza, where it is not at all certain the money will not be funneled to Hamas terrorists.
Harsh Language"The woman who, as senator, supported Israel’s plan to retain major population centers in Judea and Samaria in any final peace deal with the Palestinians, now, as secretary of state, has adopted the Obama administration’s harsh language towards the only reliable democratic US ally in the Middle East," said Mr. Klein.
Interviewed in May on Al-Jazeera TV, she said, "We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth—any kind of settlement activity." In an attempt to curry favor with the station’s Arab audience, she threw in that she had "reinforced this last night at a dinner with Prime Minister Netanyahu."
She reiterated this point even more bluntly in Egypt, telling her hosts, that the Obama administration intended to press the point to Israel that they would be allowed "not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions."
IranBefore the recent elections in Iran were held, followed by the street demonstrations by young Iranians desperate for freedom, Mrs. Clinton stated publicly that the Obama administration intended to condition at least some of its efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power on Israel’s willingness to bow to pressure and make concessions.
Speaking in April before the House Appropriations Committee, Mrs. Clinton said that "for Israel to get the kind of strong support it’s looking for vis-à-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts, they go hand-in-hand."
"She is demanding that Israel make these concessions to the same PA that she, as senator, once described as ‘complicit’ in terrorism and incitement," said Mr. Klein.
Illegal ConstructionAlmost as soon as she was sworn into her current position, Mrs. Clinton began demanding that Israel allow illegally-built Palestinian homes in eastern Jerusalem to remain unmolested, but, at the same time, she insisted that legal building by Israeli Jews in eastern Jerusalem be prohibited.
She called such Jewish construction "unhelpful."
Mr. Klein wondered what happened to Senator Clinton’s support for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
"Suddenly, parts of an ‘undivided Jerusalem’ are places where Jews may not move or build, even though Jews were the majority in eastern Jerusalem from the mid-1800s until 1948, when Jordan forced the Jewish residents to flee. Now, once again, Jews are the majority, but Mrs. Clinton would deny them the right to live and build in their own capital," said Mr. Klein.
He noted that Mrs. Clinton has justified her criticism of Jewish building by citing the 2003 roadmap plan, which, she said, Israel is not fulfilling.
"Yet she doesn’t mention unfulfilled Palestinian roadmap obligations that were supposed to occur simultaneously, including an end to the incitement, confiscating illegal weapons, cutting off all funding to terror groups, and an immediate call for an end to all violence," said Mr. Klein.
Boasting about ShalitNot only has the PA not fulfilled these obligations, there is evidence that the incitement may be getting worse. Last month, PATV featured a program in which a teacher from Fatah (the Palestinian faction to which PA President Mahmoud Abbas belong) competes with Hamas students to see which group has engaged in more brutal terrorism against Israelis.
Hamas’s most important claim was the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who, if he is still alive, has been held incommunicado for three years. While the Fatah teacher was impressed with that accomplishment, he brought up Fatah-perpetrated 2001 lynching of two IDF reservists who got lost and wandered into Ramallah. That incident led to the notorious photo of a Palestinian, who had just murdered the reservists and then unceremoniously dumped their bodies from a window, holding up his bloody hands for the camera.
According to Mr. Klein, Mrs. Clinton used to take these violations seriously when she was senator. Mr. Klein recalls that, at a 2003 Senate committee hearing at which he testified, Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the Palestinians, "How can you think about building a better future, no matter what your political views, if you indoctrinate your children to a culture of death?"
In 2007, she again commented on PA propaganda, insisting it had to be stopped and the PA had to be prevented from "idealizing for children a world without Israel." Palestinian children, she said, were being "taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel."
"We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation," she said, adding that the PA has not adequately repudiated such programming.
Suddenly QuietMr. Klein pointed out that, as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton has said nothing about PA incitement to hatred and murder. When she was asked recently by Palestinian teenagers on a PATV program what she would do if her daughter "was unfortunate enough to have been born under occupation, born deprived of freedom and liberty," she responded that she would give her child "the best education I could for her" and "would never give up on the dream of a Palestinian state."
That response, according to Mr. Klein, "legitimized the question’s false premise and actually helped incite hatred against Israel by not refuting it."
"She ignored the fact that 98 percent of Palestinians actually live under the PA or Hamas, and are not under Israeli control," said Mr. Klein. "She also seemed to forget that an alarming number of Palestinian parents have encouraged their children to become suicide bombers."
Who Is She?Mr. Klein said he, like Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, "liked Mrs. Clinton a lot more when she was senator from New York."
"Now I wonder: who is the real Hillary Clinton," said Mr. Klein.
While many Israeli Jews have complained about what they see as lack of support from American Jewry in light of the Obama administration’s increased hostility towards the Jewish state, no Israeli has complained about the ZOA.
In July alone, Mr. Klein wrote and widely disseminated dozens of columns, praising those officials who have stood up for Israel and blasting those who did not.