Hillary Clinton is cozying up to her Zionist supporters, making comments in recent weeks to signal her love for Israel. According to Politico, the presidential hopeful has indicated to her Jewish donors that she would be a more faithful friend to Israel than current US President Barack Obama, but has remained ambiguous on the Iran deal.
Regarding Iran, Clinton has publicly supported the nuclear negotiations, a process she secretly initiated during her tenure as Secretary of State. She has also said, however, that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Israel has expressed concern that the Iran deal in its current form is highly dangerous and would be damaging to regional stability, leaving the Islamic Republic with the ability to go nuclear in a very short time.
According to those running her campaign, her support for the Iran deal does not contradict her support for Israel. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill explained, “A strong deal is good for Israel in her view.”
Some donors seem to agree. “Whatever way you go, there will be some people who won’t like it,” said Sarah Kovner, a prominent New York donor. “You can’t have everybody with you. You’ve got to do what you think is right for the country.”
Clinton has also defended Obama’s interactions with Israel, saying the perceived damage to the relationship stems from a “perception” problem. She did indicate, however, that she could fix that problem and improve the relationship between the two states.
“Diplomacy is all about personal relationships, and I’ve got my own relationships,” she said.
Meanwhile, in a letter to longtime supporter and Hollywood mogul Haim Saban and dozens of other Jewish leaders, Clinton strongly condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, another move signalling her support for Israel.
According to The Guardian, Clinton blasted the movement in her letter dated July 2, saying, “The BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike.” She promised to mount a bipartisan effort “to fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel”.
According to the paper, however, not everyone is impressed. Noah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, expressed skepticism. Though welcoming the letter, he noted, “she will not be taken seriously as a pro-Israel candidate if she comes out in support of Obama’s Iran deal”.
While donors who support and those who reject an Iran deal both hear in Clinton’s words support for their own positions, Clinton will ultimately act in what she perceives to be the best interests of the United States. As one donor cited by Politico pointed out, the interests of the US and Israel, “although close, are not identical. It might not be in the best interest of American Jews, but it’s got to be in the best interest of the majority of the people.”