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The Kissinger friendship: Clinton called ‘Henry’ to intercede with ‘Bibi’

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The highlight of last night’s Democratic debate in Milwaukee was Bernie Sanders’s attack on Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy mentor Henry Kissinger for paving the way to the Cambodian genocide in the ’70s and for fighting China by way of Vietnam at enormous cost to young Americans then wanting to ship American jobs to that country in recent decades. Sanders:

“I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. Count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.”

Sanders pointed out that Clinton had described Kissinger’s mentorship in her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices. Kissinger comes up half a dozen times in Clinton’s book as a trusted advice-giver when she was secretary of state.

Henry Kissinger checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels.

She calls him Henry:

I have joked with Henry that he was lucky there were no smartphones or social media when he made his first trip to Beijing. Imagine if a Secretary tried to do that today.

Someone else who comes up on a first-name basis is Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. A couple of dozen times, Clinton refers to him as “Bibi”. Including the time she describes her efforts as secretary of state to get Netanyahu to apologize to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 that killed nine aid workers.

My efforts to convince Bibi to apologize to Turkey seesawed back and forth for the remainder of my tenure. On several occasions he told me he would finally do it, only to be stopped by other members of his center-right coalition. I even enlisted Henry Kissinger to make the strategic case to him in August 2011.

President Obama effected the apology in March 2013 on his visit to Jerusalem– after Clinton had left the Secretary of State job.

Clinton has of course promised to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu in her first month as president. And her devotion to Israel arose explicitly twice in last night’s Democratic debate: attacking Iran for its backing of Hezbollah and Hamas and for sending rockets to Gaza, criticizing Sanders for wanting to have Iranian troops in Syria right alongside our ally, Israel.

On neither occasion did Sanders take the bait.

But if her friendship with Henry Kissinger is an issue for the Democratic base –and it is– Clinton’s Israel friendships ought to be just as worrisome.

President Obama hired Clinton as Secretary of State in the first place by way of the Israel lobby, and because of her street cred with the Israel lobby. Jason Horowitz reported in the New York Times in 2014:

Once elected, Obama seemed to understand that he needed someone to lend him credibility with the Israeli government and its American defenders, a tough friend of Israel who could muscle the country away from settlements and toward a peace agreement. An aide to Obama called Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, and asked him to call Hillary Clinton to see if she would be “agreeable” to being named secretary of state.

Here’s more evidence of that connection. Max Blumenthal and Sarah Lazare report today at Alternet’s Gray Zone on the extensive fees the Clintons have gotten from pro-Israel organizations, including the Jewish National Fund, which has played a leading part in dispossessing Palestinians of their land.

An evaluation of Hillary Clinton’s public disclosures from 2001 to 2015 shows that she and Bill, and their daughter, Chelsea, have earned roughly $4 million in speaking fees from pro-Israel organizations, including JNF and organizations allied with the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The vast majority of these documented payments—$3,599,999—have gone toward the Clintons’ personal income, and up to $450,000 has been funneled into the Clinton Foundation…

More than $400,000 in speaking fees have come from a group that supports Netanyahu:

Bill Clinton received $425,000 for two speeches to Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a right-wing group that generally supports the Likud-run government of Benjamin Netanyahu and is hostile to Democrats

You’d think this would be low-hanging fruit for Bernie Sanders. Think again.

P.S. As I said, Clinton’s book refers to Netanyahu as “Bibi” about two dozen times by my rough count. Sometimes those references are glaring because Arab leaders are not on a first-name basis:

Bibi and Abbas sat next to each other…

The President said he would call both Morsi and Bibi from Air Force One…

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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17 Responses

  1. annie on February 12, 2016, 3:09 pm


    Once elected, Obama seemed to understand that he needed someone to lend him credibility with the Israeli government and its American defenders, a tough friend of Israel who could muscle the country away from settlements and toward a peace agreement. –

    well she certainly failed at that didn’t she?

    • philweiss on February 12, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Ha Ha. I missed the punchline!

      • annie on February 12, 2016, 3:37 pm

        ;) you can always add it . more grist for the mill. so what’s all this experience worth if she doesn’t put it to good use yada yada.

    • US Citizen on February 12, 2016, 7:01 pm

      And don’t forget, she was part of the “Quartet” who did jack crap about Israel and the illegal settlements, although they were often ” deeply troubling”, “greatly concerned” and “alarmed” . Yea, right. She did about as much for Palestine as Condi Rice and Dennis Ross, a big fat nothing. I hope she doesn’t end up as the nominee. God help us all.

    • italian ex-pat on February 15, 2016, 2:43 pm

      Guess I’m late in catching up.

      I always believed Obama – after becoming the Democratic nominee in ’08 – made a deal with the defeated Hillary (remember the private meeting in D. Feistein’s apartment in Georgetown?) to the effect that: you, Hillary, bring your supporters to my side in the general election, and I, as President, will give you the post of S of S, which will be your ‘shoe-in’ for President in 2016.

      I still think I had it right – I just missed the Jewish angle – silly me.

  2. Krauss on February 12, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Well, the Nevada poll came out. It’s 45-45 between Clinton and Sanders. Looks like the minority firewall is slowly morphing into the black firewall. And with time, I suspect even that “firewall” will simply fizzle.

    The U.S. election is basically going to be decided over the course of the next 4 weeks. Over 56% of the delegates will be awarded. This is now the real election – the general election.

    I really hope we get to stop Clinton. She’s basically a neocon Republican on foreign policy. It’s kind of alarming how far this country has moved her on domestic issues away from the 90s but failed to do so on foreign issues. It shows that most voters simply don’t care about foreign affairs.

    I was surprised and elated to see the attention of her name-dropping the war criminal Kissinger had on the debate on Twitter and elsewhere.

    With a GOP-controlled House(assuming we win back the senate in best case), the odds are slim for a domestic agenda for either candidate. That’s why foreign affairs is really the main prism to view things through right now until we get to 2020 and can get a totally new sweep and gerrymander in favor of democrats.

  3. Kay24 on February 12, 2016, 9:56 pm

    Hillary keeps company with a baaad crowd of people. She keeps kissing up to zionists, even go as far as to say she will be welcoming the butcher of Tel Aviv (who disrespected her boss, Obama, and tried to sabotage our Iranian deal) early in her “Presidency”. Her entire family speaks at pro Israeli functions, making millions off them. We do not have to even guess how her policies will look like – just like any other conservative, pro Israeli leader, we have had continuously in the WH. There is no hope for the US, we are doomed with the same, lousy, pro Israeli candidates, who cannot change our policies even if they want to.

    • RockyMissouri on February 13, 2016, 10:26 am

      TRUTH, disgustingly and sadly.

    • Lillian Rosengarten on February 13, 2016, 11:52 am

      The sad and bad thing is the average and uninformed voter who intends to vote for Hillary says.
      “She has better foreign policy experience. ” Dimwit response. They haven’t a clue.

  4. Ossinev on February 13, 2016, 1:58 pm

    Up front in your face bought and bent. And she is the leading DEMOCRATIC ! bought and bent candidate.

    I think most people in the UK have had a fairly benign view of this creature in the past and sadly I include myself in that number. Largely due to her “courage and forebearance ” through the Lewinsky scandal , her international profile when Secretary of State and the simple fact that she was a “Democrat”. Us naive Brits have tended to assume in the past that being a US Democrat equated somehow to traditional “Old Labour” and “Old Labour” values. As this electoral process proceeds however and the facts and figures about her Zionist funding together with the obscene levels of income she and her family have been receiving from “speaking engagements” including to Israel First organisations she is coming across more and more as a simple untrustworthy political streetwalker.

    Hopefully Bernie Sanders (on the face of it decidedly not bought and bent ) will do the necessary and drop her into the dustbin of history where she belongs.

  5. brent on February 13, 2016, 3:24 pm

    I’m regularly surprised at those who expect leading politicians to step up and take decisions to pressure Israel’s policies. All politicians know that is the path to defeat. Note GWHB or Jimmy Carter.

    Its always been to play the game, put kiss-ups like Dennis Ross in key positions, while looking for opportunities to make a difference. You don’t take on the king until you are sure of victory. Note how Bill Clinton worked down to the wire at Taba to try and capitalize on his kissing up.

    Activists should take into account how few political leaders,(are there any?), who stand against the annual monies for Israel. Money that is “taken, not “given”.

    America is a system of competing special interests… any cause or any participant can lose. Note how few are the voices who are sympathetic to Palestine speaking to the young, angry Palestinians who desperately need vision on how to advance their objectives in. Fact is few, if any, American politicians are willing to walk out the limb for Palestine. They assume it will be a losing proposition.

    I think the most effective place for activism here is in upgrading our media narrative, most importantly Public Radio and TV who depend upon contributors from progressives, so it may become possible for politicians to speak more openly about our national interest in the ME.

    As Bernie keeps pointing out, politicians can’t manage the big problems, it will take effort by concerned citizens.

  6. Kay24 on February 13, 2016, 6:17 pm

    From the land of brainless zionists:

    “A conservative Israeli lawmaker said there can’t be a Palestinian state because there’s no “P” sound in the Arabic language.

    “Palestine – There isn’t even a ‘P’ in Arabic, so it’s a borrowed term that’s worth analyzing,” Anat Berko said in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Thursday. “There is no ‘puh’ sound.”

    Fellow lawmakers booed in response, the Jerusalem Post reported. According to The New York Times, several Arab members even stormed out of the session.

    “Don’t you have a brain?” one unidentified lawmaker asked, according to Israeli National News.”


    • diasp0ra on February 14, 2016, 6:03 am

      Lmao! That is truly hilarious.

      It’s almost as if it’s not pronounced “Palestine” in Arabic.

      • gamal on February 14, 2016, 8:00 am

        An Arab delegation visited a Malayan Sultan, known as Sultan Perrah (Silver) but the Arabs kept referring to him as Sultan Berrah (excrement) it was decided they could call him Sultan Kabir instead, i know Arabs who cant hear the difference between P and B, i tell them say B but spit as you do it with mixed results.

  7. on February 14, 2016, 9:56 am

    “Including the time she describes her efforts as secretary of state to get Netanyahu to apologize to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 that killed nine aid workers.”

    The story here is that one of those activists was an American. Furkan Dogan. Autopsy reports had him prone on the deck of the ship, four bullets to the head. The story is that Obama worked to get an apology from Neanyahu for the killing of the eight activists, but not the ninth. The American.

    We’ve heard it a million times. The only thing for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Rachel Corrie. Furkan Dogan. And the countless people who support one way or another BDS took that to heart. The fools.

    • inbound39 on February 14, 2016, 8:14 pm

      The problem America has globally is the more informed people have become the more aware they are that America places no value on Palestinian lives at all. America has its Special Relationship with Israel and supplies the weapons and ammunition it uses against Palestinians to enforce the Occupation. So every Palestinian killed is blood on American hands and American Pro Israeli Politicians apparently have no conscience or integrity.

  8. JWalters on February 14, 2016, 7:15 pm

    I’d like a debate moderator to ask Clinton the following –

    Secretary Clinton, you have been a longtime advocate for children and families. So why do you support Israel’s longtime policies of unjustly slaughtering and dispossessing the children and families of Palestine? Is it because –

    1. They do not believe in the Torah and David, as Senator Schumer has argued,

    2. American Jews need a backup country in case Americans riot against Jews, as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Dana Milbank have argued, or

    3. You have received millions of dollars personally and for your campaign from staunch Israel supporters?

    Since Israel’s longstanding war on Arabs is a central element in America’s most expensive and destructive foreign policy problem,

    the public deserves to know what is going on here.

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