Hillary Clinton was the recipient of much criticism for her speech before the AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) on March 21. For example, the headline to a Slate article by Michelle Goldberg called it “a Symphony of Craven, Delusional Pandering.” At the National Interest, Henry Siegman wrote about the most objectionable passage of the speech.
Among the dangers from which Clinton promised to protect Israel is the “threat” of a Security Council resolution demanding an end to the half-century occupation of the West Bank. She said she would insist that Palestinians can achieve statehood only in negotiations with Netanyahu. Yet even President Obama, who until recently held that same view, finally realized the absurdity of that demand following Netanyahu’s declaration during the last Knesset elections that Palestinians will not live to see a state of their own while he is Israel’s prime minister.
In other words, as Ms. Clinton or her staff had to have known, with Netanyahu, negotiations could never lead to statehood. But no need to pile on. As you can see by the samples above, many more knowledgeable commentators than me have already taken their shots. However, another part of Siegman’s article left me feeling especially dispirited.
In Clinton’s speech … she managed to avoid even a single sentence that acknowledges the subjugation, disenfranchisement and humiliation Palestinians have been subjected to in the half-century of Israel’s occupation.
That carefully calculated omission reminded me of a pro-Israel demonstration sponsored by major Jewish organizations in Washington D.C. during George W. Bush’s administration. Among the speakers was Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neocon and champion of Israel. When, towards the end of his rousing pro-Israel speech, he asked his audience not to forget the suffering of Palestinians, he was roundly booed.
How sad that Clinton could not muster the courage to say what the neocon Wolfowitz, to his credit, felt needed saying, and that Bernie Sanders had the courage to say in a speech AIPAC did not allow him to deliver to its delegates via Skype.
When one takes into consideration that not only was Wolfowitz the deputy secretary of defense to Donald Rumsfeld and an architect of some of the most hawkish policies of the Israel-friendly-to-a-fault Bush administration’s, but that much of his father’s family perished in the Holocaust (as Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times in 2002), one gets an idea of how intolerant the members of AIPAC can be toward Palestinians.
Along with her chumminess with Wall Street and inclination to warfare in the Middle East, Hillary Clinton’s insensitivity to state security and lack of knowledge about technology are signs of how out of touch she is with the emerging Democratic zeitgeist, which is opposed to U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, Israel’s authoritarianism, and close relations on the part of a president with Wall Street. Much of that same constituency also knows that a secretary of state shouldn’t run her email off a server in her basement with a tech administrator to whom she paid a but a nominal fee* according to a comprehensive article in the Washington Post on March 27.
*From that article:
The man Clinton has said maintained and monitored her server was Bryan Pagliano, who had worked as the technology chief for her political action committee and her presidential campaign. It is not clear whether he had any help. Pagliano had also provided computer services to the Clinton family. In 2008, he received more than $5,000 for that work, according to financial disclosure statements he filed with the government.