On Monday, Hillary Clinton spoke to the prominent pro Israel lobby AIPAC, outlining her unyielding support for the country. While the speech was partly a declaration of war against Donald Trump (no doubt a good thing), there is cause for great concern over her emerging foreign policy stance.
As the Huffington Post reported today, Clinton's pledge that she will invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House on her first day as President, is a marked departure from the Obama Administration's more formal, restrained attitude towards Israel. President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu famously do not get along, and Clinton's declaration makes clear that she will give the Israeli prime minister exclusive access to the White House.
The specifics of Clinton's speech were extremely alarming, particularly as they relate to the virtually nonexistent peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Clinton told the audience that she would support direct negotiations between the two countries, but "would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.”
Clinton also made sure to almost entirely exonerate Israel from the failures of previous peace talks, telling the AIPAC audience that “it may be difficult to imagine progress in this current climate when many Israelis doubt that a willing and capable partner for peace even exists.”
This ludicrous assertion is not only patently false, but a disgusting affront to the Palestinians who have suffered extraordinary abuse at the hands of Netanyahu -- a man who has explicitly admitted he is not interested in peace, won't consider a two state solution and has continued to build illegally on Palestinian territory despite the Obama administration and the international community's attempts to stop him.
Former Israeli Security Agency head Yuval Diskin said this of Netanyahu back in 2012:
Forget the stories they tell you about how Abbas is not interested in negotiation...We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.... I was there up to a year ago and I know from up-close what is happening. This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this certainty.
The global community knows Israel's extreme right wing government has no interest in peace, and the only people who keep the pretense up is the hard right in Israel and bizarrely, almost every active American politician on both sides of the aisle. It is a political charade maintained to keep a toxic blend of special interests and campaign contributions going, all to the detriment of the Palestinian people who have had their land systematically stolen from them since Israel's inception in 1948. The US pays for this colonization and provides political cover for the country that is at odds with virtually every other country on the planet.
Clinton's explicit support of Israel and the total disregard she shows for the Palestinian people is a political ticking time bomb. The Obama administration failed spectacularly to push peace talks through, largely because of Netanyahu's extraordinary obstructionism (and Obama's failure to hold him to account). But the Obama administration has managed to contain Bibi and make him less relevant on the international scene, most noticeably after he was sidelined during the nuclear negotiations with Iran -- a very important deal that has certainly helped calm tensions between the US and the Arab world. A Hillary Clinton presidency would likely reverse this welcome trend and bring Netanyahu and his viciously anti-Iranian and anti Palestinian party back into the heart of American power.
Clinton has stated that Iran is a sworn enemy of the United States and has a history of threatening war against the state that has not attacked another country in the past 150 years. She also supported invading Iraq in 2003, and urged military action in Libya -- all strong signals that she will implement an extremely hawkish foreign policy should she get into office.
The United States can ill afford another trigger happy president running the country, and while Clinton would no doubt be infinitely better than any lunatic in the Republican party currently running for president, it would be a serious step backwards if she undid Obama's far more cautious, pragmatic approach to international relations. The Middle East is currently embroiled in a deadly battle for its soul as ISIS sweeps the region and oil prices crash, creating greater insecurity and instability in the region that can ill afford it. One ill conceived move by the US could create chaos in the region -- a lesson Clinton apparently has not learned despite being on the wrong side of every foreign policy issue in recent history.
Bernie Sanders has managed to pull Clinton further to the left on domestic policy than she would have been without his presence on the campaign trail. Perhaps his parting gift to his supporters as he winds down his campaign would be to find a way to artfully move Clinton away from her idiotic foreign policy positions. Sander could hold her accountable to huge numbers of Democrats who want her to be president but are anxious about her right wing policies towards the rest of the world.
Liberals are going to have to get behind Clinton if they want to stop Donald Trump getting near the White House, but she is going to make it unnecessarily difficult by wedding herself to policies and positions that have no business in a 21st century White House.