A month ago we spotlighted Hillary Clinton’s disturbing letter to megadonor Haim Saban, in which she promised to work with Republicans to oppose the BDS movement– Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.
Well it turns out this isn’t a first for Hillary Clinton. She’s been battling BDS for many years. Even as Secretary of State. So her emails show!
Here’s an amazing story in the Scotsman, about then-Secretary of State Clinton’s decision to step into a foreign country’s film festival in 2009, in order to protect Israel.
Six years ago the Edinburgh International Film Festival took a 300-Pound donation ($465) from the Israeli government to allow an Israeli artist to attend the shindig. This was right after the massacre of Cast Lead in Gaza. Director Ken Loach objected to the donation, and the Film Festival returned the money. That’s when the lobby pressured Clinton, using family connections, to do something about the Scottish Film Festival.
Today the Scotsman can reveal that the row went right to the upper echelons of the American political system with Mrs Clinton suggesting pressure could be exerted on the Scottish Government and the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to get the festival to reverse its decision.
The controversy was brought to the attention of Mrs Clinton by newspaper publisher Brian Greenspun, a college roommate of Bill Clinton, who forwarded a newspaper article on the boycott to the then US Secretary of State.
According to emails from her personal account released by the US Department of State, the article had originally been emailed to Mr Greenspun by Bruce Ramer, an entertainment lawyer and former president of the American Jewish Committee, an advocacy group.
The emails were released amid controversy about Mrs Clinton’s use of private email accounts while she was Secretary of State.
In his email, Mr Ramer wrote to Mr Greenspun: “I hope you can enlist Hilary’s support (and please give her my personal best). We need, for many reasons, to have the US protest and condemn this outrageous boycott and to oppose the anti-Semitism inherent in it. The organisers of the festival must be convinced to reverse themselves.”
After Mr Ramer’s email was forwarded to Mrs Clinton’s private email account, on May 25 2009 the then Secretary of State responded: “Thanks for the headsup on this. We are working to decide the most effective way forward, and I’ll keep you informed. We have some good ideas as to what our govt can do, but we also want to see pressure from local people brought on the British and Scottish govts.
“Can you and Bruce reach out to the community in London and Edinburgh to urge them to raise this w PM Brown and other govt officials? We’d like to see top down and bottom up pressure. Let me know what you think.”
Mrs Clinton, who is now a front-runner for the Democrat nomination in the US presidential elections, Cc’d the email to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, Andrew J Shapiro, a senior adviser to Clinton who would soon become assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and her spokesperson Philippe Reines.
In an email sent to the three the previous night, Mr Clinton wrote: “Pls read Brian’s message and all the email traffic below. What can we do about this? Let me know if you have ideas. Thx.”
Mr Sullivan responded: “We will confer in the morning and come up with a plan.”
The Scotsman has no evidence that Clinton actually did anything. But it’s a good bet to judge from the email. The Scottish government says it didn’t interfere in the film festival, wouldn’t do that kind of thing. But Hillary Clinton would! And:
Asked if they had received any pressure from the US government or Hillary Clinton over the boycott, the Edinburgh International Film Festival declined to comment.
Greenspun was a frequent visitor to the White House who lobbied the Clintons on other Israel-related issues. Israel’s close to his heart.
Bruce Ramer is an attorney for Hollywood celebrities who is big in the Jewish community and is also a friend of Barack Obama’s. He has a federal appointment. No wonder President Obama has equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, lobbying support for his Iran Deal.
This is important now because it demonstrates the intensity of the Israel lobby when dealing with our highest officials. It uses political pressure to make them come to heel. This isn’t even settlement policy in the West Bank. No, nothing is too small; and the usual rules don’t apply. A foreign film festival makes a decision you don’t like? Bigfoot ’em with the US secretary of state. And how many emails a day did Clinton’s office get asking her to do something? Scores or hundreds. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was then in crisis, millions had been killed there over the previous ten years. You’d think that issue might be front and center on the secretary’s agenda. Not quite.
Also: You think BDS isn’t effective? It’s certainly gotten a lot of folks’ serious attention. And just imagine if our support for Israel were politicized. Shenanigans like this would suddenly become scandalous. Bernie Sanders would be questioning Clinton’s professionalism.