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Why did Sec’y of State Clinton stick her nose into $465 donation to Scottish film festival in ’09? (BDS)

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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.

Thanks to Max Blumenthal, author of The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. And to James North, expert on int’l justice campaigns.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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20 Responses

  1. traintosiberia on August 9, 2015, 2:07 pm

    Doesn’t it show the effectiveness of the interconnected nature of the disparate elements who live times and spaces apart come together to do the bidding of the Zionist?
    Paul Singer teams up with AIPAC,FDD,and UANI to sharpen knives against Argentina .
    Lauder urges Merkel to toe the AIPAC lines on Iran.
    Lantos goes after Chirac and Schrieder . Chirac folds and Merkel emerges .
    HBL asserts that as a Jew he would like to see Sarkozy break up Libya and Syria to make sure that the rebels get the chance to recognize Israel.

  2. amigo on August 9, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Perhaps the US gov should appoint a “Secretary for Israeli affairs” reporting directly to the President and the Israeli PM with special powers including veto rights on any decisions by his / her American boss, not to Israel,s liking.He or she would be required to sign off on any legislation affecting the “Jewish State”.

    Why not move American Foreign Policy to Tel Aviv and avoid all the back and forth.The US would save a fortune on airfares.

  3. JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 3:22 pm

    RE: “This is important new 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.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: ■ A Problem of Self Image (Mysh) from Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam site

    • JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 3:31 pm

      P.S. RE: “Why did Sec’y of State Clinton stick her nose into $465 donation to Scottish film festival in ’09?”

      FOR THE ANSWER, SEE: “Trump’s Triumph: Billionaire Blowhard Exposes Fake Political System”, by Mike Whitney,, August 7, 2015

      [EXCERPT] . . . Just think about what the man [i.e., Trump] said. He not only explained that the whole system is rigged (Baier: “And when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”…TRUMP: “You’d better believe it.”), he also said that the politicians will do whatever they’re told to do. (TRUMP: Well, …with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice because I gave.”)

      Doesn’t that confirm your darkest suspicions about the way the system really works, that money talks and that elections are just a way to get the sheeple to rubber-stamp a corrupt, fraudulent system?

      Of course, it does.

      So, let’s summarize: Moneybags capitalist loudmouth explains to 80 million dumbfounded Americans watching prime time TV, that the system is a total fraud, that the big money runs everything, and that even he thinks the system is broken. . .


  4. JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 3:45 pm

    RE: “Bruce Ramer is an attorney for Hollywood celebrities who is big in the Jewish community and is also a friend of Barack Obama’s.” ~ Weiss

    MY QUESTION: Does Haim Saban have Ramer on retainer?

    P.S. If Hillary Clinton gets back into the White House (i.e., is elected U.S. President), Haim and Cheryl Saban will effectively have a sublet on the Lincoln bedroom! *

    * SEE: “The Clinton Years Revisited”, By Philip Giraldi,, 2008-02-26

    [EXCERPTS] As bad as the past eight years have been, it may be fruitful to remember what U.S. national security policy was like under Bill Clinton . . .
    . . . In an astonishing testament to the resiliency of the Clinton era neocon-lites, several of the better-known examples have recently surfaced in Doha. Qatar hosts an annual conference called the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, which was just concluded, running from Feb. 16-18. This year, for the first time, there was a co-sponsor, the Saban Center of Washington’s Brookings Institute. The Saban Center, far from an objective observer of the Middle East, is funded by Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, who said in a 2004 interview, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” Saban is extremely close to the Clintons and is also reported to be the largest contributor to the Democratic National Committee. When Bill was in office, Saban and his wife slept in the Lincoln bedroom on a number of occasions. Like its founder, the Saban Center is Israel-centric in its policy analysis, sponsoring bilateral meetings in Jerusalem to discuss issues of common concern. . .


    • JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 3:54 pm

      P.S. THIS IS FROM WIKIPEDIA AS OF 3/31/14 [Haim Sabanx]:

      (EXCERPT) . . . Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings. Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors.[23] Amy Paris noted that Saban’s Clinton-era “generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President’s Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues.”[23] The New York Times reported that Haim and his wife “slept in the White House several times during President Clinton’s two terms.” Saban remains close friends with the former President. Clinton described Saban as a “very good friend and supporter.”[5] Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.[24]
      During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[23] Matthew Yglesias wrote that “Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle.” [25] Saban’s donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.
      In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser: “I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation’s work, particularly on reconciliation issues.”[5] In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Clinton in 2008 presidential election.[20] In June 2007, Saban and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation.[26] According to the Los Angeles Times,[26] the fundraiser brought in over $850,000.
      In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to “keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries.”[27] The donors, who “were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign”, “were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party ‘superdelegates’ should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.”[27] The letter to Pelosi stated the donors “have been strong supporters of the DCCC” and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency,[27] that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.
      On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had “offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization’s two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat.“[28] . . .

      SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 3:56 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement?”, by Eli Clifton,, April, 19,2015

      [EXCERPT] . . . Saban, a pro-Israel powerhouse within the Democratic Party, lavishly funds Bill Clinton’s presidential foundation as well as the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). This fundraising arm of AIPAC arranges for congressional junkets to Israel, among other projects.

      Between 2008 and 2013, Saban’s family foundation pumped over $8 million into the Clinton presidential foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas and contributed $5 million to the AIEF. AIPAC has expressed reservations about the framework agreement, warning that it “could result in a final agreement that will leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state.”

      Saban has gone even further. Speaking alongside GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson at an Israeli-American Council conference in November, Saban criticized the Obama administration’s negotiating tactics with Iran, complaining, “we’ve shown too many carrots and a very small stick.” He warned that if necessary to defend Israel against Iran, “I would bomb the living daylights out of the sons of bitches.”

      Indeed, Saban, a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen, has also been supportive of the Israeli military. Between 2008 and 2013, Saban gave $7.43 million to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a group that provides support for serving members of the IDF and the families of fallen soldiers, according to tax documents. . .


  5. just on August 9, 2015, 5:29 pm

    Do I smell desperation? Why, yes I do.

    “Israeli Business Sets Up Anti-boycott Hotline

    Established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, the new channel will provide ‘individual and discrete’ assistance to companies facing boycotts.

    Israeli business has opened a hotline to deal with issues arising from the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli financial newspaper Globes reported on Sunday.

    The hotline, which was established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, will handle queries and complaints from business owners regarding cases of boycott or concern about boycott.

    “The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts,” said Dan Catarivas, Director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel.

    “BDS is not a uniform phenomenon; it is expressed differently in each country. When complaints or reports of such cases are received, we will address the situation specifically, using the tools we have, in order to provide them with a relevant and correct response.”

    Businesses, including the hotel, agricultural, cinema, and industrial sectors, as well as other economic concerns, were informed of the new channel in a letter from presidium chairman Shraga Brosh.

    “For a long time, we have been exposed through the media, and some of us personally, to growing harassment by BDS activists promoting an economic, academic, and cultural boycott of Israel,” Shraga

    “Unfortunately, these attempts at a boycott have worsened and expanded recently and are not expected to go away in the near future.”

    The hotline will offer legal and economic assistance to businessmen coping with cases of boycott. Those include cases of “silent boycott,” in which businesses and organizations refrain from doing business with Israeli companies out of concern that they will suffer public relations or economic damage. …”

    read more:

    • inbound39 on August 9, 2015, 6:31 pm

      It is quite amusing when they view BDS Action against Israel’s illegal actions as Harassment. It is certainly an eye-opener the depth and breadth of Israel’s global interference. Here in NZ we have John Key who is current PM and who is of the Jewish Faith. Prior to his election for his first term the Israeli Embassy had been shut down and its people declared persona non grata due to Mossad Agents being caught gaining NZ Passports by illegal means. The people of NZ were as incensed by it on a similar scale as when France sent agents to bomb the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland. Within the first month of John Key becoming PM the Israeli Embassy was quietly reopened…no public statement…..nothing in the press… New Zealanders asked how they felt about it reopening… just mysteriously appeared with an overweight, barely literate, settler looking Ambassador for Israel in attendance. Since I have wondered where Key got his election funds from and how much came from Israel.

    • German Lefty on August 9, 2015, 6:46 pm

      Thanks for the link, just. Yes, the introductin of an anti-BDS hotline is great news because it shows that BDS starts working. I also find it interesting that the article emphasises that the assistance will be “discrete”. I mean, if the business owners truly believed that they are UNFAIRLY boycotted, then they would probably want to make this incident public instead of looking for discrete assistance in fighting the boycott.

    • a blah chick on August 9, 2015, 7:21 pm

      “The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts,”

      I hope “discreet solutions” is not some euphemism for hit men.

  6. JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 6:23 pm

    RE: “Why did Sec’y of State Clinton stick her nose into $465 donation to Scottish film festival in ’09?”

    Louis Malle had a “portable photoneuronic energizer” (unnamed at the time) in his 1963 film The Fire Within. I thought it was a clever, hilarious little joke.

    • Portable photoneuronic energizer
    Publication number US5292345 A
    Application number US 07/427,984
    Publication date Mar 8, 1994
    Filing date Oct 30, 1989
    Priority date Aug 24, 1987
    Fee status Paid
    Inventors Ernesto A. Gerardo
    A portable photoneuronic energizer for providing a portable full spectrum light source to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder comprising head support means, a full spectrum light mounted on the head support means and positioned for indirect light to enter the user’s eyes.
    ■ IMAGE

  7. German Lefty on August 9, 2015, 6:35 pm

    “And just imagine if our support for Israel were politicized.”

    I am disturbed by Phil’s use of the word “our”. Since when does he support Israel? And who else is included in the word “our”? His wife?

    • turveyd on August 10, 2015, 10:01 am

      Re: German Lefty. I noticed that, too, and took it for a misprint, figuring he meant support for Palestine….

    • mcohen. on August 14, 2015, 5:21 am

      German lefty

      Just curious but why mention his wife

      • German Lefty on August 14, 2015, 2:05 pm

        @ mcohen

        Usually, when a married person says “we”, this means “my spouse and I”.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 2:13 pm

        oh please. this is absurd. it’s clear phil is speaking in the context of our government or our country’s support of israel. this is a political website. the idea phil would be referencing his wife every time he writes “we”, or to make that allegation about any journalist is just ginning to pick a fight. it’s spam.

      • German Lefty on August 14, 2015, 2:22 pm

        Annie, it’s really not my intention to pick a fight. However, considering that Phil does NOT support Israel, it makes no sense that he writes “OUR support for Israel”. Also, I would NEVER refer to the German government or the German state as “us”.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 3:03 pm

        i’m not interested in a rhetorical squabble over term “our” in the english language and how it’s usage is applied by americans when referencing our governments policies – with a non native speaker who has repeatedly pulled out the ‘i’m not a native speaker’ joker card in these conversations. no use of CAPITAL letters makes your argument more compelling. basic logic (otherwise known as common sense, which apparently you’re lacking) is all one needs to figure out phil is not referencing his wife.

        good day.

  8. aiman on August 10, 2015, 4:28 am

    The Israel (Zionist Consciousness) Lobby is just one in a number of lobbies and plays second fiddle to Big Bad Empire [sarcasm]. It’s not a toxic parasite embedded in the American deep state. Let’s not make a big deal out of this!

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