In email, Clinton calls for a ‘Potemkin’ peace process

US Politics
on 15 Comments

The Podesta emails keep dripping out of Wikileaks. As Haaretz notes flatly, “Many of the leaked Clinton campaign emails deal with Israel.” Yes: the emails demonstrate the centrality of Israel as an issue for the Clintonites, and the agony they went through over President Obama’s Iran deal. Last week we picked up the emails showing the Clinton team’s knee-jerk responsiveness to prodding by megadonor Haim Saban: Clinton must not “rebuke” Netanyahu over his opposition to Obama over the deal, but send positive signals re Israel, including opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement– statements that could then be sent out to “thousands” of donors to help them understand where Hillary is on Israel.

The emails keep coming, and in the last day or so, Israeli publications have picked up a Clinton comment approving the idea of a “Potemkin” peace process.

Here’s the context. In a March 2015 email, right after Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli election, Clinton foreign policy aide Jake Sullivan passed along a Times article in which Netanyahu offered a mild apology for his racist election-eve warning to Jewish voters that Palestinians were coming out to the polls “in droves,” and in which he flipflopped on his promise that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch. Per the Times:

The two-state solution “remains our goal today, because it is the only way to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” [Netanyahu] added.

Sullivan comments:

Unsurprisingly, Pragmatic Bibi makes an appearance.

Clinton steps right in:

This is an opening that should be exploited. A Potemkin process is better than nothing.

A Potemkin process is of course just what the United States has had for twenty years or so. It is our contribution to the managed conflict undertaken by the Israelis; we never put any real pressure on the Israelis, and yet, affirming the Potemkin process gives the U.S. cover to claim that it is working hard to bring about a two-state solution. Even as apartheid solidifies across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

It is not clear what the “opening” Clinton refers to was. Netanyahu was obviously insincere about any Palestinian state; for several years now he has paid grudging lip service to one while expanding Israeli control over the territories. Clinton points to a Jodi Rudoren piece in the Times where the former Jerusalem bureau chief says, Netanyahu “believes in the concept of two states but thinks the current circumstances make it impossible — [and this] is reflective of a very broad view among Israel’s Jews.” I.e., never.

Michael Omer-Man has this angry comment on the Potemkin process at +972:

It’s hard to imagine a more troubling statement about Israel/Palestine from a politician who will in all likelihood be the next president of the United States, even if it represents only part of her thinking on the region…

when American politicians like Hillary Clinton say that the façade of a peace process is better than no process, they mean it is better for the United States and Israel, not for Palestinians. A Potemkin peace process expressly means maintaining the status quo of occupation and oppression while neutralizing any consequences Israel might face for its actions.

Clinton’s statement about a Potemkin process would seem to echo her advice in a 2013 speech to Goldman, Sachs— also leaked in the Podesta emails — that leaders need both a public and a private position on difficult issues.

You just have to sort of figure out… how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today. That, I think, has probably been true for all of our history, and if you saw the Spielberg movie, Lincoln, and how he was maneuvering and working to get the 13th Amendment passed, and he called one of my favorite predecessors, Secretary Seward, who had been the governor and senator from New York, ran against Lincoln for president, and he told Seward, I need your help to get this done. And Seward called some of his lobbyist friends who knew how to make a deal, and they just kept going at it. I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.

Though in this case, the backroom pressure on Netanyahu is just as pathetic as the public statements. Nothing happens.

Lastly, a running theme in the emails is pro-Israel Jewish donors. That’s why the Clinton team wants to do nothing to alienate Netanyahu. And speaking of the Israel lobby, here’s an email earlier this year from Neera Tanden, the head of the Clintonite Center for American Progress, welcoming on the CAP board Jonathan Lavine, a co-managing partner at Bain Capital. Lavine is a big supporter of Israel. From the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston:

For decades, Jonathan and his wife Jeannie have… in recent years increased focused [sic] on their investment in Israel, and in the Jewish future. Jonathan says that his experience on a CJP mission to Israel in 2012 opened his eyes “to the diverse fabric of CJP’s work, and how we can pursue our desire for social change and express our Jewish identity.”

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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15 Responses

  1. Kay24
    October 17, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Actions speak louder than words (in this case leaked emails), and it is obvious that HC will continue the same lousy policies where Israel is concerned, the unwavering support, bucket loads of aid, and endless weapons In fact she has vowed to take it all to the next level (Yikes!)

    We should not be surprised at what the leaked emails say – they only prove that she is willing to be a hundred percent supportive of a hated occupier, land thieves, and human rights violators.
    She is a hard core politician, and the suffering of the Palestinian people is really of no importance, after all the Palestinians cannot help her political ambitions but their occupier can.

    What campaign donations can do in the US.

    • inbound39
      October 17, 2016, 11:55 pm

      It emphasises to the American People that Clinton is not working for America. She is working for Israel and therefore is a Foreign Agent and needs to be called out on it and rejected soundly as a Presidential Candidate.

      • Kay24
        October 18, 2016, 7:40 am

        Those who keep doing Israel’s bidding are all foreign agents. They put Israel above their own nation when it comes to our policies, and will go against their own President if needed.
        It is a sorry state of affairs.

      • patrickb57
        October 18, 2016, 9:10 am

        Exactly. I think any American Jew who foregoes service in the U.S. military to enlist in the IDF is a traitor and should be stripped of U.S. citizenship. Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk (the Australian put on the fast-track to U.S. citizenship in order to be appointed ambassador to Tel Aviv) are both foreign agents.

  2. Dan Walsh
    October 17, 2016, 8:29 pm

    New book by HRC: It Takes A Potemkin Village

  3. JLewisDickerson
    October 18, 2016, 3:56 am

    RE: PHOTO OF – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton in New York in September 2016.

    MY COMMENT: Compare this photo of Netanyahu and Obama* to the photos of Netanyahu and Clinton.

    * recently used by Haaretzhttp://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.745959

  4. Ed Moloney
    October 18, 2016, 9:48 am

    no more leaks from wikileaks! here’s the question: did ecuador do this on its own initiative or was it suggested by the White House?

  5. Steve Macklevore
    October 18, 2016, 12:09 pm

    It’s so hard to feel optimistic about the plight of the Palestinian people at the moment.

    We’re in the last days of the most pro-Palestinian President ever, who proved to be weak and cowardly on this issue. His successor is likely to be even more pro-Likud than her husband, which is saying something.

    Damn the stinking corrupt U.S political system that requires so much money and gives an handful of super-rich power over millions of decent ordinary people.

  6. Citizen
    October 18, 2016, 4:19 pm

    Disgusting

  7. gingershot
    October 18, 2016, 4:39 pm

    ‘It takes a Potemkin village’ – Hillary ‘Kahanism’s Lawyer’ Clinton

    FIRSTIES! ha

    In apropos honor of the breaking news ( Wikileaks) of Robby Mook advising Hillary NOT to discuss Israel in front of any Democrats activists but only (presumably Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby) donors – there is a lecture this Saturday
    ===-

    ‘The Israeli Civil War and 1P1V1S’

    WHEN: OCT 22, Saturday, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    WHERE: Otay Branch San Diego Public Library,
    3003 Coronado Ave, San Diego, Ca 92154
    WHO: Dr Lance Dale

    Topics:

    ‘Israeli Apartheid and the 3rd Israeli Generals Revolt’:
    The Commanders for Israeli Security (CIS)

    The Israel Civil War:
    ‘Hillary and the CIS vs Bibi, Adelson, and the Settlers’

    The UN Sec Council Resolution against Israel supported by the US

    1P1V1S = One Person One Vote One State
    Marwan Barghouti and 1P1V1S from Shining River to Shining Sea

    The 3 Existential Events (seen as such by Israel itself) for Israeli Apartheid:
    The Iran Nuclear Deal, UN Sec Co Resolution against Israel, and the ICC

    ‘The Collapse of Israeli Apartheid and the Tsunami on American Politics’
    ‘The Successful 2nd American Revolution of 4-2-15 and the Iran Nuclear Deal’
    How the Israeli/Israeli Lobby ‘Clean Break Dream’ perished in Aleppo

    … and breaking current events

    Q and A after the talk

  8. gingershot
    October 18, 2016, 5:02 pm

    Jill Stein should hit Hillary on this with everything she’s got

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