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Cut from Clinton speech: Palestinians ‘yearn for freedom… behind checkpoints and roadblocks’

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Yesterday we did a post showing that Clinton campaign chair John Podesta wanted lines about “how Israel is treating the Palastinians” removed from a draft of Hillary Clinton’s speech last December to the Saban Forum, a powerful pro-Israel Washington audience. Today another Wikileaks email has been published showing what Podesta was objecting to. From the speech draft attached to a December 5, 2015 email from speechwriter Dan Schwerin:

Palestinians have the right to yearn for the freedom to govern themselves, in peace and dignity.  For most Americans, it is hard, if not impossible, to imagine living behind checkpoints and roadblocks.  Palestinians should be able to achieve their legitimate aspirations.

Now here’s that section in the speech-as-delivered:

Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state in peace and dignity. Now for most Americans it is hard to imagine the reality that exists for many Palestinians and in recent times for many Israeli’s.

Eli Clifton picked this up and states:

[B]etween December 4 and December 6, Clinton’s speech was scrubbed of most language showing sympathy for Palestinians or criticism of the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory….

Palestinian rights and acknowledgment of their national aspirations are nearly completely lacking from the final version. The speech only made a brief reference to Israeli settlement construction, which Clinton loosely described as a “damaging action.”

As for the settlements, here’s the shift between the draft and the speech-as-given. It got weaseled. Draft:

all the parties must work to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution… by avoiding unilateral or damaging actions, whether on the ground, in settlement construction, or at the United Nations.


Everybody has to do their part to create the conditions for progress… by avoiding damaging actions including with respect to settlements and at the same time we should oppose any unilateral action at the United Nations.

Language about the Israelis’ experience also changed. But the Israeli anguish of living under the threat of terror was a big theme in draft and final versions.

Philip Weiss

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

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7 Responses

  1. Krauss on October 26, 2016, 3:44 am

    It’s been very eye-opening to see establishment media and the Clintonite liberals slam Assange as an agent for Putin etc. In 2012, when he went after Bush, there were no such noises. He was a hero then.

    The Wikileaks emails have also shown a very high degree of collusion between the campaign and the media, notably against Bernie in the primaries. You had Politico’s editor in chief, Glenn Thrush, basically run articles by the campaign and asking for input.

    That’s stenography, not journalism. This is why the rage against Assange must be understood. He is exposing the media just as much as he is exposing the campaign, and that removes their moral shroud and shows their corruption. They hate him for that.

    It also speaks a lot about how tribal a lot of liberals are.

  2. Kay24 on October 26, 2016, 6:51 am

    With shekels and dollars pouring in to political campaigns in the US, politicians are willing to drop any reference to the suffering of the Palestinians. After all they are poor powerless people, who cannot help the politician win their elections, and besides they need to say those now familiar words of how much they support and will protect the world’s most disliked occupier.
    We have a filthy political system here, and an unholy alliance with an alien lobby.

  3. adpucci on October 26, 2016, 8:26 am

    this is really fascinating – while we SERIOUSLY need Clinton to get in the seat (since the alternative is Trump, enough said), nobody has ever heard her say anything that wasn’t “yes Bibi”.

    then Wikileaks came out with a lot more even more damaging stuff.

    and now that we’re close to the finish, and there is the real risk of that terribly dangerous clown winning, not only does the entire Bernie wagon rightly push in her direction, but even Wikileaks seems to have misjudged her…

  4. pabelmont on October 26, 2016, 9:35 am

    Let’s hope Obama reads this stuff before his BIG ACTION on November 9. Big UNSC draft resolution on settlements? Urgency on climate change? Announcement of a HUUUUGE Obama presidential library and urging Congress to pass TPP? Wait and see. (Trick or treat?)

    • just on October 27, 2016, 12:36 pm

      Look what some Israel- first Republican congressmen have done:

      “A group of Republican Senators has sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday urging him to suspend ties with UNESCO following a controversial resolution on Jerusalem holy sites.

      “Given that U.S. law already forbids American taxpayer money going to UNESCO, we urge your administration to join Israel in suspending ties to UNESCO,” the letter, signed by Senators Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Mark Kirk and David Perdue, reads.

      “In 1984, the U.S. severed ties with UNESCO due to disparities between American foreign policy goals and UNESCO’s agenda. Because UNESCO continues to deviate from its founding mission and adopt one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions, it is time for the U.S. to stand with Israel and suspend our ties ….”

      The resolution, entitled “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,” was approved by secret ballot, with 10 voting in favor, eight opposed, two abstentions and one delegate, from Jamaica, absent. Tanzania and the Philippines reportedly voted against the resolution.

      Haaretz reported that the U.S. helped Israel to try to recruit countries that would demand a vote, thereby enable countries interested in doing so to vote for or against, or to abstain.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen was recalled for consultations to protest the anti-Israel bias at the UN.”The theater of the absurd continues,” Netanyahu said during a speech at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “We will decide what to do and what further steps to take against this organization.”

      In the letter sent to the president, the Republican senators, three of which are running for reelection on November 8th, write: “At a time when the Middle East is in turmoil and historical heritage sites are being destroyed by groups such as ISIS, it is imperative that the U.S. stands with Israel, our closest ally and the sole democracy in the region. Recent UNESCO resolutions that deny Jewish and Christian ties to holy sites in Jerusalem not only reinforces the necessity of withholding American funding from this counterproductive UN organization, but also call into question future U.S. membership in UNESCO.””

      read more:

      • MHughes976 on October 28, 2016, 4:15 am

        Right on cue the Israel Antiquities Authority comes up with a papyrus allegedly from the 600s BCE in which wine is requisitioned on the King’s behalf by his maidservant, what a charming touch. It comes complete with a derring-do story of seizure from looters who found it in a cave – ie it is completely unprovenanced. (A leaf is taken from the romantic, dubious account of the discovery of the Mesha Stela.) There’s been some press celebration – one article floated by me making great play with ‘It’s not in any other language, it’s in Hebrew!’ An overemphasis on minor and disputed points is really, I think, a sign of underlying insecurity. Christopher Rollston, now of George Washington U – he has had his own Salaita style experience with zealous Christians – has raised questions about the text’s genuineness. I don’t think that the IAA has acted very creditably. Meanwhile, why do US Senators consider themselves so authoritative on ancient history?

  5. mcohen. on October 28, 2016, 2:10 am

    fascinating stuff ,this transfer of power.russia scurrying with there ships,isis being attacked in mosul,china winning over the phiippines,brexit,british troops moving to poland.tension is building,thats for sure.
    right now a fuse needs to blow but where and what,who and how is anybody’s guess

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