Attack, attack, attack’ — Leaked emails show panicked Netanyahu rallying Clinton and Pindo Jews against BDS
Philip Weiss, MondoWeiss, Oct 7 2016
These are amazing. Wikileaks published 2000 emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta; and they show Stu Eizenstat, former deputy secretary of treasury under Bill Clinton, acting as the ambassador for Israel and the Jewish community to Clinton. And everything Clinton has said on Israel and Palestine and the boycott movement in the last year, from saying she’d meet with Netanyahu in her first month in office, to opposing BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), to taking the Israel relationship to the “next level,” Eizenstat appears to have scripted. For instance:
Bibi should be invited for early talks on how the partnership with Israel can be strengthened…
Eizenstat reflects true panic from Netanyahu about the BDS campaign. Describing a meeting of himself and Dennis Ross with Netanyahu in Jun 2015, Eizenstat offered trusted Clinton aide Jake Sullivan Netanyahu’s assessment of BDS:
On BDS, Israel should move from the defense to the offense. It should be attacked on moral grounds. It is “unjust” and “cruel”. Israel must attack its attackers. The best defense is a good offense: “attack, attack, attack”. Changing policy won’t help, but “it may be useful for other reasons” (I found this an interesting qualification) He said that there are several lines of defense: (1) The Jewish community itself, where unity is necessary and “all Jews” should be included… He said there is a “lot of energy” in the anti-BDS movement now.
Eizenstat agrees that the Pindo Jewish community must stick together and support Netanyahu against BDS, but it might not happen, because Pindo Jews are tearing themselves apart on Israel.
I also stressed that Diaspora unity was essential, but that now the Jewish community was tearing itself apart on Israel issues, and those on the liberal/left side, who are pro-Israel and anti-BDS are being shunted aside. I said that even Ben-Gurion and Begin put aside their differences at a critical time in the 1948 War, No less is needed now.
Ross and Eizenstat tell Netanyahu that Israel has to help out on the BDS front, by changing policy. So BDS is working! Nothing else is.
[One recommendation] which I made explicitly, and with Dennis did as well, was that the Cabinet had to recognize that its settlement policy and policy toward the Palestinians was used as a recruiting tool for the BDS leaders. While the leaders want nothing less than the end of the Jewish State, many of those on campuses, EU officials, and European public opinion could be swayed away from BDS if they saw Israel taking affirmative steps toward a two state process in word and deed.
Later Eizenstat presses Sullivan to produce that Hillary Clinton letter opposing BDS.
I assume the BDS letter is still being drafted?
That letter came out a month or so later, addressed to megadonor Haim Saban, and vowing to work with Republicans to oppose BDS. In this Dec 2015 email, Eizenstat conveys Netanyahu’s views to Hillary Clinton’s braintrust that Obama is too hard on us, and we hope your administration will stop talking about Palestinians, and the Palestinians inside Israel are a problem too.
The Prime Minister always had a “surprising good relationship” with Hillary; she is “easy to work with”, and that she is more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House…
Don’t talk about Palestinians:
He [Netanyahu] attended part of the Saban Forum and felt that most of the emphasis was on the Palestinian issue, and wonders if a Clinton Administration “will be a Saban Forum for four years”, due to “the people around her, but not her”. Her own speech was “95% good, although there was some moral equivalence language.”
And you wonder why she cut the occupation and settlements out of the Democrat platform. And the man who complained that Arab voters were coming out in “droves” in the election a few months before doesn’t really go in for democracy:
Israel Arabs are a “real problem.” The government had to dismantle the northern branch of the Islamic Association because they were radicalizing the Israeli Arabs, who are 20% of the population.
And by the way, the two-state solution isn’t going to happen on Netanyahu’s watch. So when Hillary Clinton says she’s taking the relationship with Netanyahu to the “next level,” she ought to stop talking about a Palestinian state.
While the Prime Minister favors a two state solution, neither a majority of the Likud Party nor Bennett’s party does. Indeed, a two state solution has never been in the government guidelines in any Likud-led government.
In a May 2015 email, in the days of the Iran Deal, Eizenstat pushes Clinton through Sullivan to accommodate USraeli Jewish fears:
she needs to understand the great angst in the Jewish community over the cascade of challenges I have described. The empathy and appreciation she can demonstrate, would itself be important and reassuring.
Again in that May 2015 email, Eizenstat writes to Sullivan about a discussion at the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jayloomia-based advocacy group headed by Eizenstat and Dennis Ross, about Pindo foreign policy. Pindostan should never put any pressure on Israel:
There was a grave concern that the Obama administration, once the Iran nuclear negotiations are out of the way, will support some form of the French proposal for a new UNSCR to supplant 242, endorsing the two-state solution, with 1967 borders, and with Jayloomia as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state. Several people felt that given the impasse in the peace process, Israel’s argument that this should be left to negotiations, had a hollow ring to it. If this is going to happen, then it should be framed in ways that force the Palestinians to make tough choices, like ending claims to the “right of return”. But the safest political position is to oppose what will be seen as an effort to “impose” a solution both sides will reject.
The decline of Democrat Party support for Israel is a “dangerous” situation, but Jews are driving the change; some rabbis are afraid to bring up Israel in synagogue:
There are increasingly sharp left-right divisions (J Street vs AIPAC) within the Pindo Jewish community over Israel. Remarkably, rabbis are reluctant to discuss Israel in their sermons for fear of alienating one faction or another.
In this email, to Sullivan in Mar 2015, Eizenstat says that he is very close to the state of Israel, has been there 50 times, his grandparents are buried there, and then he scripts Clinton on what she ought to say to distance herself from Obama’s unhappy relationship with Netanyahu so as to maintain Jewish support–
This obviously places Hillary in an extremely difficult position, caught between the President she served and the organized parts of the Jewish community
What did he recommend? Calm the waters, stress Pindostan’s undying support for Israel, oppose BDS. Everything she ended up doing over the last year.
First, she should stress the need to “lower the temperature level” of rhetoric on all sides…. she should stress the enduring commitment of Pindostan to Israel’s security interests, not only direct military threats, but attacks against Israel in the form of the BDS campaign, on campuses in Pindostan & Eurostan… Third, and critically, she should express a strong feeling that Israel MUST remain a bipartisan issue, as it has been since its formation. She should sharply criticize those in Pindostan and in Israel who are injecting Israel into a partisan context.
Eizenstat offers himself as the channel to the Israel lobby:
I have sent you separately, at your request, Jewish leaders to whom she should reach out. She needs to make a statement sooner rather than later, as things are spiraling out of control.
It would seem that it was Eizenstat who got Hillary Clinton not only to craft a letter against BDS, but to vow to invite Netanyahu to the White House first thing as president. A Jun 2015 email:
Hillary cannot oppose the [Iran] agreement given her position as the President’s Sec State and should urge its approval by Congress under Corker-Cardin. But she can and should point out concerns with it… More broadly, she should appear more muscular [in] her approach than the President’s… But she should also say the following: …Bibi should be invited for early talks on how the partnership with Israel can be strengthened to combat Iran and Israel’s other avowed enemies.
Thanks to Alex Kane, who was on this first. As he tweeted:
Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer promised to “expose” how SJP is tied to “terrorist funding”
Here’s that email. More panic about BDS from Dermer via Eizenstat. SJP are terrorists, and J Street is anti-Israel.
They will shortly expose the funding base for the main BDS group on campus, Students for Justice in Palestine, which tie it with terrorist funding… He agrees there should be a “big tent” to combat BDS of all pro-Israel, anti-BDS groups. But he distinguishes between liberal groups like Peace Now, which he supports, and JStreet, which he does not. The reason, he said, is that although they are officially anti-BDS, they actively lobby against Israeli positions supported by a democratically elected government in Israel, and are constantly critical of Israel, rather than the Palestinians. By lobbying Congress and the Administration against Israeli positions they are “denying Israel’s right to self-determination.” They are lobbying to change what the popularly elected government of Israel supports. … The key is to expose BDS as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. There is no other country where there is a BDS campaign to change their policy. Israel is being held to a double standard….
NYT says Bush 41’s opposition to Israeli settlements cost him his job
Philip Weiss, MondoWeiss, Oct 7 2016
The effect of Obama standing up to Netanyahu for once, earlier this week, over a new settlement, has been swift. The NYT has now stood behind the president in a sharp editorial against the Netanyahu government for its intransigence. Like Obama’s stand, the NYT’s vituperation comes way too late to help create a Palestinian state, but it is remarkable for a casual assertion about the power of the Israel lobby. Presidents don’t want to tell Israel what to do because Bush 41 lost his bid for reelection in 1992 in part because of his opposition to Israeli settlements. Here’s what the NYT said.
This latest [Israeli] decision was especially insulting, coming just a few weeks after USrael concluded a defense agreement guaranteeing Israel $38b in military aid over 10 years. If the new settlement was known earlier, it might have affected those negotiations. Theoretically, the aid gives Pindostan leverage over Israel, but various administrations have been loath to exercise it. Bush withheld $400m in loan guarantees from Israel in 1990 over the settlement issue. The move was later assumed to have been one factor in his re-election defeat.
This is surely news to NYT readers. Michael Desch told readers of the journal Securities Studies this news in 2006:
Many believe that Bush 41’s defeat in 1992 was the result of Jewish-Pindosi opposition fueled by his hard line against Israeli settlements under the Shamir government.
Desch’s footnotes indicated that Bush 41 himself believed this to be the case. Remember that Bill Clinton ran to Bush 41’s right on the settlements in 1992 and raised money on that basis, just as his wife began by running to Trump’s right on the issue. Three years ago NYT columnist Tom Friedman described the power of the lobby to Mehdi Hasan of al-Jazeera. He didn’t write this in his column, but he said it in England:
Let’s go inside Pindosi politics for a second. What happened, and as you know, Bush 41 stood outside the White House one day and said I’m one lonely man standing up against the Israel lobby. What happened as a result of that, Mehdi, is that Republicans post Bush 41, and manifested most in his son Bush 43, took a strategic decision, they will never be out pro-Israel’d again. That they believe cost them electorally a lot. So that pulled the Pindosi spectrum to the right. and it created an arms race with the Democrats over who could be more pro-Israel.
While we’re going down memory lane, Bill Kristol bragged in the late 1990s that the neocons purged “the Arabists” from the Republican Party, all the realists who didn’t want to invade Iraq. And Netanyahu urged us to invade Iraq. And even Reform Jews supported the Iraq War. Etc. Soon the NYT will let it be known that the Israel lobby helped start the Iraq war. The NYT editorial says that Obama should lay down some parameters on a two-state solution before he leaves office. Though that will do nothing, even the newspaper kinda admits.
Mr Netanyahu obviously doesn’t care what Washington thinks, so it will be up to Pres Obama to find another way to preserve that option before he leaves office…. The most plausible pressure would come from Mr Obama’s leading the UNSC to put its authority behind a UNSCR to support a two-state solution and offer the outlines of what that could be. That may seem like a bureaucratic response unlikely to change anything, but it is the kind of political pressure Mr Netanyahu abhors and has been working assiduously to prevent.
This is why engaged people (sic – RB) support BDS, because it would change Israel’s behavior. In another sign that the Obama diss of the Israelis has had an effect, the WaPo puts a harsh headline on William Booth’s story about Israel’s latest lame hasbara: “A satirical ‘history of the Jewish people’ released by the Israeli government offends just about everyone.” So even the WaPo is annoyed by a video that portrays Palestinians as foreigners to the land.