Past e-mail exchanges between presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her confidants reveal that a Clinton presidency would likely be a hostile one, according to a report by Makor Rishon’s weekend magazine, Dyokan.
The report cites remarks made to and by Clinton in e-mail exchanges with her advisers and prominent friends, which were made public after the scandal surrounding her private e-mail server broke.
The US as ancient Rome
One such e-mail was sent by Sidney Blumenthal, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton and father to radical anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal, on the eve of the March 2010 AIPAC Convention, at which Hillary Clinton was a central speaker.
Blumenthal sent Clinton a document in which radical Israeli leftist Uri Avneri compared Israel to the zealots in Jerusalem who fought the Romans in the end of the Second Temple era. The US, in this parable, was Rome. Clinton read the document, told Blumenthal that she was about to address AIPAC the following day and asked if and how she could use the material in her speech.
“Here are some ideas,” wrote Blumenthal. “Hold Bibi’s feet to the fire, remind everyone he was at Wye, his key participant event in the peace process, and that it was successful.” In addition, he suggested, “I would argue something you should do is that, while praising AIPAC, remind it in as subtle but also direct a way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion.
Bibi is stage managing US Jewish organizations (and neocons, and the religious right, and whomever else he can muster) against the administration. AIPAC itself has become an organ of the Israeli right, specifically Likud. By acknowledging J Street you give them legitimacy, credibility and create room within the American Jewish community for debate supportive of the administration’s pursuit of the peace process. Just by mentioning J Street in passing, AIPAC becomes a point on the spectrum, not the controller of the spectrum.”
While Clinton did not take Blumenthal’s advice in the end, and did not mention J-Street, Makor Rishon points to Blumenthal’s influence as a danger to be reckoned with.
In June 2009, Blumenthal advised Clinton on how to deal with Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan proposal for a two state solution: “The shortcomings of Bibi’s poison pill proposal should be pointed out as soon as it’s possible without complicating the Iranian crisis,” he wrote. “Option: Pretend his statement in favor of two states is a new position (it’s in fact a reiteration of his detailed position before in more or less the same terms) but point out that his terms (his substance) would make impossible what he now says he favors. In other words, catch his transparently false and hypocritical ploy not as false and hypocritical but as a contradiction in its own terms.”
Makor Rishon also says it is clear that Clinton and her advisers do not trust Binyamin Netanyahu. As proof of this, it cites an e-mail by Martin Indyk, former US Ambassador to Israel, after the Marmara debacle in 2010:
Netanyahu, he explained, should move quickly if he wants to succeed in negotiations with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. “In this context, Bibi’s negotiating tactics become self-defeating. Believing that he is a great negotiator, and that he is operating in the Middle East bazaar, he inflates his requirements well beyond anything reasonable in the belief that this is the best way to secure the highest price. The process of bringing him down to a reasonable price uses up a lot of energy, uses up a lot of goodwill, humiliates his Palestinian negotiating partner, and raises doubts about his seriousness.
“In the end, under great pressure from all quarters, he will make the final concession, but only after wasting a lot of time, making everybody furious with him, and thereby securing no credit either with his supporters or negotiating partners.
“At heart, he seems to lack a generosity of spirit,” Indyk added. “This combines with his legendary fear of being seen as a ‘freier’ (sucker) in front of his people to create a real problem in the negotiations, especially because he holds most of the cards.”
On the day of the Marmara raid, Blumenthal emailed Clinton with “several observations on the Israeli raid” and said that the event could be considered “Bibi’s Entebbe in reverse.”
Blumenthal explained that Netanyahu “desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother.”
“The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe, except that there are no hostages, no guns, it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe.”
After reading the email, Clinton forwarded it to Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff. She added the abbreviations “fyi” (for your information) and “ityso” (I told you so), indicating that she agreed with Blumenthal’s observations.
Makor Rishon sees the e-mail exchanges as indicating that Clinton and her advisers are often unrealistic in their expectations regarding the Middle East. As an example of this, it cites an August 2010 exchange between Clinton and Anne-Marie Slaughter, who was Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department. Slaughter suggested that Clinton endorse “The Arc,” a plan by the Rand Corporation that would see $6 billion invested in infrastructures connecting Gaza with Judea and Samaria.
The proposal ignored the fact that Gaza had been taken over by Hamas.
“Here is the link to the video of The Arc. http://friendsofthearc.org/, a national infrastructure trunkline for a future Palestinian State developed by the RAND Corporation,” she writes. “It is only 8 minutes long, but a great overview of the Arc vision and its potential for enabling peace in the region. I promise you it is worth it.”
“That is a great practical idea,” Clinton replies. “Thx for sending. I’d like to discuss next week.”
“I’m so glad you took the time to see it,” Slaughter answers. “It’s both practical/achievable and visionary.”