Trending Topics:

‘Israel will not have better friend in White House than Hillary’ — Clinton adviser assures NY

on 25 Comments


As the New York primary heats up, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’s views on Israel are in the news; and remarkably, Clinton is criticizing settlements but is being careful not to ascribe that settlement activity to Israel as such. It’s a dodge she executed first at AIPAC. Last night her spox did it again on a radio show.

Jewish Insider reports on the latest careful statement from Clinton’s adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking on a city councilman’s radio show last night, the David Greenfield show. Sullivan begins with the pander:

“If she’s elected president, she will immediately start by reaffirming America’s strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security and the importance of the alliance. And then she’s going to take concrete steps – one would be to invite the Israeli Prime Minister to visit in her first month in office. Another would be to send a senior delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chief’s to Israel for consultations so we can get on the same page on the array of common security threats that we face. And then, you know, I think, she said at AIPAC is very focused on ensuring that we never allow Israel’s enemies to think that they can drive a wedge between us; that when we have differences, as any friends would have, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully.”

Greenfield then asked, “What is Hillary’s view on settlements? Does she view them as illegal, or does she view them as a key stumbling block in the negotiations?” Clinton clearly views them as the latter, a stumbling block. Notice that Sullivan declines to ascribe the settlements to Israel:

“What she said about settlements is that she believes that everybody has to do their part to avoid damaging actions, and that includes with respect to settlements. Sec. Clinton comes out on the bipartisan tradition on this issue going back several presidents with respect to her view on the settlement issue. She also believes that it is very important that as we move forward, we try to do everything we can to support those voices who want to see a two-state solution, and that we support the efforts that Sec. Kerry is trying right now to try and de-escalate the situation on the ground and avoid more violence. From her perspective, the key thing is securing Israel’s future as a democratic-Jewish state, and a two-state solution that results in a peaceful and secure outcome. What she would do as president is everything she could to support direct negotiations and not seeing a solution imposed from the outside. She was very clear at AIPAC that she would vigorously oppose any outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN.”

Sullivan’s formulation is a repetition of Hillary Clinton’s refusal to ascribe settlement activity to Israel at AIPAC two weeks ago:

“Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements. Now, America has an important role to play in supporting peace efforts. And as president, I would continue the pursuit of direct negotiations.”

Next, Sanders has had to walk back the comments he made about Gaza in his interview with the Daily News. Jacob Kornbluh reports:

Sanders clarifies comments on Israel after phone conversation with ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “As many people know, Sen. Sanders, as a young man, spent months in Israel and, in fact, has family living there now. There is no candidate for president who will be a stronger supporter of Israel’s right to exist in freedom, peace and security,” Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement.

According to the Sanders campaign, the Vermont senator immediately corrected that his recollection was about the total number of casualties, not the death toll. “The idea that Sen. Sanders stated definitely that 10,000 Palestinians were killed is just not accurate and a distortion of that discussion,” Briggs said. “Bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be easy. It would help if candidates’ positions on this issue are not distorted.”“The senator assured me that he did not mean his remarks to be a definitive statement and that he would make every effort to set the record straight. We appreciate his responsiveness on this issue, especially at a time when there are many false and incendiary reports blaming Israel for applying disproportionate force in its struggle for self-defense.”

Another controversy surrounds Jesse Alexander Myerson’s excellent piece in the Village Voice putting Sanders in the prophetic Jewish tradition. J.J. Goldberg criticized the piece in the Forward and Myerson has now responded to that criticism. Associating himself with an anti-Zionist and socialist Jewish tradition, Myerson endorses BDS, as a young Jew. The world is turning. Myerson excerpts:

[M]y contention is not that Zionists and socialists are distinct sorts of Jews locked in eternal struggle. Instead, I am accounting for how the dominant ideology of American Jewry shifted from socialism (Zionist and non-Zionist alike) to increasingly reactionary Zionism and trying to locate Bernie Sanders — from his upbringing to his campaign — in this new configuration.

My insistence on “linking…anti-Zionism with the prophetic tradition of social justice” implies that I think “Zionism is…somehow opposed to the best in Judaism.” Bingo! He is also correct to associate me with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which I support. BDS is “gaining adherents at an alarming rate,” Goldberg hyperventilates, “turning well-meaning young Jews into enemies of the Jewish state.” The alarm this causes Goldberg is complemented by the apprehension he feels about the “worrisome rifts between Israel and American Jews” that are opening up.

He should have seen it coming. These rifts were prophesied as early as 1948 by the sage Hannah Arendt, when she predicted that the “Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people.” Already, she could see that “a Jewish state [could] only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland.” Goldberg’s sweaty, frenzied tone suggests that, as he watches Arendt’s forecast unfold, he is losing faith in the liberal Zionist project. That speaks well of him

Goldberg and his fellow liberal Zionists used to be able to write our site off as outliers and nuts. That period of anti-Zionist history is over. And yes, Bernie Sanders is changing the U.S. discourse on this question, albeit in a quiet and shillyshallying way.

Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .

Posted In:

25 Responses

  1. Peter in SF on April 8, 2016, 2:42 pm

    “If she’s elected president, she will immediately start by reaffirming America’s strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security and the importance of the alliance. And then she’s going to take concrete steps – one would be to invite the Israeli Prime Minister to visit in her first month in office. Another would be to send a senior delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chief’s to Israel for consultations so we can get on the same page on the array of common security threats that we face. And then, you know, I think, she said at AIPAC is very focused on ensuring that we never allow Israel’s enemies to think that they can drive a wedge between us; that when we have differences, as any friends would have, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully.”

    Notice the dog that didn’t bark here: a mutual defense treaty with Israel like those with NATO, Japan, South Korea, etc.

    • lysias on April 8, 2016, 6:39 pm

      LBJ offered Israel a mutual defense treaty. Israel refused the offer, because it would have had to define its borders.

  2. Krauss on April 8, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Interesting. Sanders feels he can go after Wall Street in an unrestrained manner, without apologising or amending anything.

    But look at this! Now his spox is coming out of the woodwork, in a nervous tone, assuring the supporters of Jewish apartheid that Sanders will, indeed, be a staunch supporter of their cause. Very disappointing.

    Yet also very telling. This goes to show what we’ve been saying. You can bash the NRA or Wall Street. But you can’t bash the Israel lobby.

    Now which lobby/special interest group is the most powerful of them all? The one which nobody dares to criticise.

  3. Kay24 on April 8, 2016, 4:53 pm

    No better friend indeed. She has shamelessly shown her devotion in more ways than one, and this is the main reason I will NOT be voting for this power hungry (conservative) woman. Bernie Sanders has gone further than others in showing some concern for the Palestinian people, but in this nation of zio controlled congress and lobbies, how will that result if he becomes President?
    He has the right policies, but is that naivety talking?

    Meanwhile the Palestinians are making a desperate attempt to bring Israel’s land theft into focus, but the prince of darkness, Nutty, speaks like a hypocrite stating it will only push peace away (the world is supposed to forget he proclaimed that there will never be a 2SS while he is in power).

    Palestinians Circulating Draft UN Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements
    Abbas wants to bring the resolution to a Security Council vote during his visit in New York in about two weeks, but Netanyahu slams proposal as pushing peace further away.
    read more:

  4. ritzl on April 8, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Somebody should ask Clinton to define exactly what the US “national interest” is with Israel. I can’t see any.

    Lest we forget, Israel supports al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda in Syria. Is supporting the entity that carried out the WTC horror (a NY issue if there ever was one) in our “national interest?”

    Let the other 20M voters in NY judge her answer. Voters who’s sons and daughters go off to kill and be killed to support this alleged, never-defined, blank-check, and open-ended “national interest.”

    Are you listening Bernie? So much ammunition. So little time. Dialing back aid (to zero, eh?) to Israel would pay for college for half the kids in the US (plus or minus), including those same NY voters. Prioritize!!

    • ritzl on April 8, 2016, 5:48 pm

      To put it another way, Clinton and the people who strenuously support aid to Israel do not want your kids to go to college.

      • ritzl on April 8, 2016, 7:40 pm

        Or in local terms, Alabama Medicaid is $100M underfunded for 2017. If that shortfall is not remedied it means the whole system goes away. Estimates put the number of poor children and adults (mostly children) that would cease to have access to medical care at 500,000+/-, just in this small state.


        Slightly more than 1 million people in Alabama receive Medicaid benefits, including 51 percent of the state’s children.

        ALABAMA (WAFF) – Advocacy groups say proposed Medicaid cuts will mean serious medical complications or even death for those who need help the most.


        What voter is going to accept billions in aid to a theoretically proud and self-sufficient foreign country when their children are wasting away before their very eyes.

        In this very real circumstance, how is it possible that NO clever and ambitious politician will make the three sentence appeal required to tap into that level of voter angst.

        ● Israel is a proud and self-sufficient country. We send them $5B per year that could be used to make your children well. I will end that aid and fund Medicaid fully. ● [Sighs of relief. Applause. Candidate boxes checked]

        How can Israel be so, so, so politically sacrosanct that all the major party candidates will watch US children get sick and die rather than utter a peep about the grotesque priority imbalance?

    • echinococcus on April 8, 2016, 8:12 pm


      All so true. Looking at it, however, in the “national interest” perspective, there is a larger stone: US intervention abroad and US military, wider than our complicity with the Zionists.

      Dialing back to zero all US intervention would surely provide a lot more returns for the taxpayer.
      Fat chance BS takes that hint, ever.

  5. hophmi on April 8, 2016, 10:12 pm

    Myerson doesn’t response to Goldberg. He hurls insults at him. Myerson’s Village Voice piece was inaccurate garbage.

    And whatever pretensions you may have, this site, and anti-Zionist in general, remains the province of a fringe few.

    • Keith on April 9, 2016, 12:46 am

      HOPHMI- “And whatever pretensions you may have, this site, and anti-Zionist in general, remains the province of a fringe few.”

      Since you keep hanging out here, one can only assume that rubbing elbows with the “fringe few” is a guilty pleasure? And as much as you rail against me and try to get me banned, I sense that deep down inside this is your unconventional way of trying to bond with me in the hope that one day, with work and effort, you too can spell Albert Shanker correctly.

      • Mooser on April 9, 2016, 12:42 pm

        “you too can spell Albert Shanker correctly.”

        “C’mon and hear!
        C’mon and hear!
        Albert Shankar’s Raga-time Band!”

    • Citizen on April 9, 2016, 3:24 am

      US was one of the last states to join BDS against apartheid South Africa (Israel was the last). BDS is growing.

  6. kalithea on April 8, 2016, 10:56 pm

    No self-respecting black person should be voting for this Zionist Republican she-wolf in Democratic sheep’s clothing and blacks should recognize Bubba Clinton for exactly what he is: a southern racist talking down to blacks. The Clintons are political Super-predators that prey on the black community for votes with concealed disdain. All they care about is power and influence. She thinks blacks should be made to heel; and he thinks they should be getting his coffee instead of getting in his face and speaking truth to power. Those words weren’t spoken off the cuff; they expose who they really are. And one more thing: Clinton was not the first black president; that’s the biggest misnomer of all time. He didn’t get that reputation because he did blacks any favors; on the contrary, he’s responsible for the most racist, anti-black legislation in recent times. Bill got that reputation because of the public humiliation he was subjected to during the Lewinsky affair wherein blacks felt he was treated at the time as if he were a black president. But does sleaze deserve black sympathy? The Clintons are not progressive; they are right of center; and both he and she have proven this when they were in positions of power and power is what really drives them.

    It’s like the title of this article:

  7. Dan From Away on April 8, 2016, 11:15 pm

    Aid? To Israel?

    Aid is given to those in need. Israel does not need US aid. Its standard of living is among the highest in the world:

    “The standard of living in Israel is high and is constantly improving. As of 2015, Israel ranks 18th among 188 world nations on the UN’s Human Development Index, which places it in the category of “Very Highly Developed”.” The USA ranks 8th.
    Source: Wikipedia

    The tranfer of wealth from the US to Israel is not aid…it is tribute.

    Tribute – a : a payment by one ruler or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission or as the price of protection. Source: Merriam-Webster

    American political vassalhood to Zionism is nowhere more apparent than in the ever-growing-amount, regularity and unassailable nature of its annual tribute. There is no more powerful measure of Congressional obsequiesness to this foreign, alien ideology than this regular transfer of American wealth to what Hillary Clinton has called “the only Jewish democracy in the Middle East”. WTF?

    We here at MW should use words and terms that reflect reality and not echo hasbara. Aid is the assistance the USA provides for famine relief, natural disaster recovery, agricultural development, education programs and a host of other worthy efforts FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO ACCESS TO RESOURCES. Israel does not qualify for “aid” in fact it boasts endlessly about how developed it is, that it is a part of Europe and that its economy is a model for the world.

    My definitions:

    Aid is temporary assistance given to sustain life and for which no return is expected.

    Tribute is a public, ritual transfer of wealth meant to reinforce inferiority, offered in perpetuity in return for protection.

    See posters on the subject of US tribute to Israel/US aid to Palestine here:

  8. JLewisDickerson on April 9, 2016, 4:35 am

    RE: ‘Israel will not have better friend in White House than Hillary’ — Clinton adviser assures NY

    MY COMMENT: I would venture to say that if Hillary Clinton is elected, she will be the most pro-Likud president we have ever had.

    • Kay24 on April 9, 2016, 5:00 am

      She is not alone. A top EU official also bows to shekels, his ideology, or maybe to pressure:

      The EU’s top envoy in Tel Aviv has refused to condemn the latest Israeli threats against Palestinian human rights defenders.

      Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, who heads the EU diplomatic mission to Israel, was responding to questions about the threats made by Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz and other top officials against activists and leaders in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

      Faaborg-Andersen wrote to The Electronic Intifada that he “will not enter into a discussion about the interpretation of Minister Katz’s comment or the comments of any other speakers” at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem on 28 March.

      The EU envoy spoke at the same conference alongside a leader of Israel’s settler movement, despite Palestinian objections.

      Faaborg-Andersen insisted however that his presence “should by no means be seen as endorsement of statements – including the threats… made by others at that conference.”

    • radkelt on April 9, 2016, 8:03 pm

      no one mentions that her use of an unsecured computer and private email has allowed
      an interested party access to classified top-secret and above information. I don’t believe
      that was accidental nor simple carelessness.

    • James Canning on April 10, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Would it not be fair to say that Hillary Clinton thinks the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are a serious problem, but that she will have no chance to gain the White House if she states this openly?

      • JLewisDickerson on April 13, 2016, 2:15 am

        To the extent that may be the case, it indicates that she is also unlikely to challenge the Likudniks if she is elected.
        As best I recall, Michael Lerner of Tikkun wrote some time after the Clinton administration that he thought Hillary Clinton had the right sentiments, but she was unwilling to expend her (or Bill’s) political capital in support of those sentiments.

      • JLewisDickerson on April 13, 2016, 7:56 am

        P.S. SEE: “Clinton: ‘Not accurate, fair or useful’ to primarily blame Israel for peace failures” | By Times of Israel Staff | April 12, 2016
        In interview with New York Jewish Week, Democratic front-runner distances herself from Obama administration, lambastes Palestinian inaction, says her commitment to Israel is ‘personal’
        LINK –

  9. SonofDaffyDuck on April 9, 2016, 2:56 pm

    no doubt Hillary will be a BFF for Israel. Fine, let her.
    What is needed is a Friend for the 99% of Americans.
    She ain’t it. Bernie is.

  10. just on April 11, 2016, 7:39 am

    “Why Is Goldman Sachs Funding the Violent, Racist Jewish Settlers of Hebron?

    Even though the firm’s Charitable Gift Fund consistently gives to right-wing Israeli groups or their U.S. fronts, the Hebron aid is a standout, as the showcase city for the worst of the Israeli occupation.

    In 2012 the Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund granted $18,000 to one of the most violent and discriminatory communities in the West Bank – the Jewish community in Hebron. Hebron is a perpetual nightmare. About 700 Jews live in tiny fortified urban settlements at the center of a city inhabited by 180,000 Palestinians. 

    The settlers of Hebron are known for violence. There are multiple videos online in which they yell “Death to Arabs!” and paint hateful Hebrew graffiti on the doors of Palestinian stores. Their children rampage through Palestinian markets, kick over tables with goods, and wreak havoc. Hebron settlers are also known to attack Israeli soldiers on the rare occasions they’ve attempt to curb the settlers’ violent activities. 

    In parts of downtown Hebron Palestinian residents installed nets and metal grates over the streets to catch the garbage that settlers routinely throw from their windows. 

    Hebron is the showcase city for human rights organizations to bring tourists to when they want demonstrate the worst of the Israeli occupation. The largely abandoned historic center of Hebron is known as “The Ghost Town.” The Israeli Defense Forces have welded the doors of Arab shops shut and prevent Palestinians from entering much of the area. 

    Here IDF soldiers segregate the roads and force Palestinians to use a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian passageways while their Jewish neighbors walk on the main street. Here the Jewish community worships the terrorist Baruch Goldstein, an American-born physician, who entered the Ibrahimi Mosque at Abraham’s tomb in Hebron in February 1994 and massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers and wounded 120, before being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. …”

    read more:

  11. just on April 11, 2016, 7:41 am

    “‘Absurd’ to Say I Created ISIS; That Was Assad, Russia and Iran, Says Hillary Clinton

    On CNN, Hillary Clinton responded to accusations from Bernie Sander’s campaign manager that her foreign policy helped create ISIS.”

    read more:


Leave a Reply