You may have seen the news that just in time for the election, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation Friday barring state business with organizations or individuals who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Wolf called the BDS movement “a cause that is antithetical to our country’s position on the world’s stage” because it would replace “peace talks to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The Democratic governor said:
“We must make clear that we are in favor of a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States, stand behind our friends and allies, and will not encourage economic punishment in place of peaceful solutions to challenging conflicts.”
The legislation had passed both Pennsylvania’s houses overwhelmingly; and of course NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to a similar effect last June.
The message is perfectly in line with the Democratic Party’s position on BDS as demonstrated by Hillary Clinton (who polls indicate will thump Donald Trump tomorrow). The Clinton Team put opposition to BDS into the Democratic Party platform last summer, even as it sliced out any references to settlements or occupation. And 16 months ago Clinton released a letter to her megadonor, Haim Saban, promising to fight BDS; Wikileaks emails from her campaign show that the letter was a means of balancing her support for the Iran deal in the eyes of pro-Israel donors.
The latest Clinton campaign emails released by Wikileaks show that Saban intertwined his anti-BDS efforts with the Clinton team. For instance, this email from Saban’s aide, in April 2015, a few weeks ahead of the BDS letter, asks Clinton campaign chair John Podesta for help in hiring an anti-BDS executive:
Haim has asked that I reach out to you in the hopes that you could provide some guidance or a recommendation for the potential hiring of an Executive Director (title TBD) to develop a strategy to combat the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. A key focus would be increasing pro-Israel student participation in student government.
BDS is a peaceful movement that, aside from gestures from the EU, is the only international force putting pressure on Israel to end the occupation. But Clinton can maintain her stance against BDS the same way Gov. Wolf does: by claiming that the the Israeli government is actually interested in peace.
Recent emails from Wikileaks show that even as Benjamin Netanyahu enraged the White House and won reelection in March 2015 by promising voters he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state, the Clinton braintrust planned to deceive Americans about Netanyahu’s intentions: “dozens of hours of convos with Bibi” had convinced Hillary Clinton that Netanyahu had “actively negotiated” to bring about a Palestinian state.
The email is from March 18, 2015, the day after Netanyahu had won election with that vow to his rightwing Jewish supporters. Clinton spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri tells the braintrust that a New York Times reporter wants Clinton’s view of the two-state solution in light of Netanyahu’s obstructionism:
Think this is our first incoming on how to handle Bibi being against a 2 state solution. Are we clear on how we want to handle this? Should we do a call? thanks
Jake Sullivan, the former Rhodes Scholar apparatchik who does foreign policy for Clinton, says no no no, Bibi’s not against a 2 state solution. Sullivan says Bibi is actively negotiating to bring one about!
She is for a two-state solution and thinks the status quo is unsustainable. She had dozens of hours of convos with Bibi where he not only supported a two-state solution but actively negotiated to bring it about. We don’t need to wade into Israeli politics but we should be clear and unabashed about our own position.
Clinton subsequently promised to mend relations with Israel and to invite Netanyahu to the White House in the first month she’s in office, for dozens more hours of convos.
The campaign surely had no choice but to stick to Netanyahu. A week after the Israeli election, Haim Saban wrote John Podesta from Israel that Israeli companies can help the Clinton campaign with cyber security. And Saban has no hidden agenda, he says.
I’m in Israel where I have met with various high tech co’s that have developed some incredible technologies that can be of great help to an eventual campaign. There are two that have the greatest potential…. I would strongly recommend that whoever will be in charge of all of our online efforts meets with them for an hour and explores the opportunity. I have no horse in this race other than to support our cause.
Well he has an Israeli horse too. Saban has said that his one issue is Israel. Clinton has been compliant; though maybe she will pivot next year….