Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton displayed a brazen contempt for Palestinian democracy in a 2006 meeting with Jewish journalists in Brooklyn, according to a new report. She also warned of the rise of “Islamo-fascism” as a “global threat that needs a global response.”
According to the Observer, Clinton told the editors of the Jewish Press: “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Clinton, then a New York Senator running for re-election and shmoozing with the editors of the Press. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”
Hamas won those elections in the Palestinian parliament, touching off several years of internecine conflict between the Islamist party and its secular, nationalist rival, Fatah. Hamas has nominal control over Gaza, and Fatah runs security in Palestinian cities, but both political groups are still at the mercy of Israel vastly superior firepower.
The revelation comes after Wikileaks and DC Leaks published a trove of private emails between Democratic party operatives, including excerpts from Clinton speeches to Wall Street and the health care industry that show Clinton holding public positions at odds with her words in private, especially when speaking to donors. Here, Clinton’s statements defy this year’s “most progressive ever” Democratic party platform, which the party plans to pursue policies that provide “the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”
The new report is a symphony of concern trolling published by The Observer, a paper owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who doesn’t see an ethical problem shilling for his father-in-law’s campaign against other ethnic and religious minorities. As a sock puppet for Trump, the Observer doesn’t care about Palestinian rights, but jumped at the chance to put Clinton and “rigged” in a headline, as Trump plays coy on whether he will accept the results of November’s election as he claims it’s “rigged” in favor of the former Secretary of State.
But the audio tape, which sat unplayed for ten years in the offices of the Jewish Press, reveals how Clinton conceives of Palestinian democracy: a threat to Israel. Meanwhile, however, Israelis can elect whomever they want to the Knesset, even people who aren’t shy about saying they want to exterminate Palestinians. Clinton doesn’t talk about the threat Israeli elections pose to Palestinians.
Another part of the tape provides a clue as to why Clinton felt that Palestinian popular sovereignty was “a mistake.”
“I think you can make the case that whether you call it ‘Islamic terrorism’ or ‘Islamo-fascism,’ whatever the label is we’re going to give to this phenomenon, it’s a threat. It’s a global threat. To Europe, to Israel, to the United States…Therefore we need a global response. It’s a global threat and it needs a global response. That can be the, sort of, statement of principle…So I think sometimes having the global vision is a help as long as you realize that underneath that global vision there’s a lot of variety and differentiation that has to go on,” she said, according to The Observer.
Eli Chomsky, then an editor of the Jewish Press, told the Observer he was shocked, shocked!, to hear Clinton talk of meddling with a foreign ballot, flummoxed that “anyone could support the idea—offered by a national political leader, no less—that the U.S. should be in the business of fixing foreign elections.”
But Andrew Kadi, chair of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said Clinton’s words and attitude towards the Palestinians didn’t shock him.
“I can’t say I’m surprised. I believe the U.S. has a history of interfering in who leads other sovereign nations, for example supporting dictatorships and juntas in Central and South America. Ultimately, this is part and parcel of a foreign policy of continued rejection of popular sentiment on the ground in various parts of the Middle East and elsewhere,” Kadi said.
“But the U.S. definitely punished Palestinians for their democratic decision by encouraging the Israeli escalation of a siege and blockade on the Gaza Strip, and growing Egypt’s role in helping to maintain it,” he said. “I don’t think Hillary Clinton has any interest in Palestinian self-determination beyond the bantustans given to the Palestinian Authority.”
Kadi added that the whole discussion ignores how little consequence Palestinian elections have anyway, when the government that controls Palestinian daily life is Israel, an occupying military force ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and, through siege, in Gaza.
‘These elections are held for extremely limited powers within the tiniest sliver of historic Palestine,” he said. “Ultimately, many of the most critical functions – land and maritime access, registration of IDs or ‘citizenship’ (the Palestinian Authority ‘hawiyyeh’), etc – are in the hands of the occupier, the Israeli state.”