Beware of the Big Dog and his Lady. This meeting with the AJC tells all for a good listener why Obama needs to get a Israeli-Palestinian peace deal done during his term in office. Hillary Clinton is a hawk and will not place any pressure on her best ally, the American Jewish community and the Israeli government for a peace plan with the Palestinians.
(The Forward/JTA) — A month before her foreign policy autobiography, “Hard Choices,” hits the bookstores, Hillary Rodham Clinton made an easy choice: She pitched her diplomatic credentials to a friendly Jewish audience.
Clinton’s speech to the American Jewish Committee on May 14 was meant to send a signal to the pro-Israel community, insiders say, that a Clinton presidency would smooth over tensions ruffled by the Obama White House. So while she broadly defended Obama administration policies, she also suggested areas where she had differences with the president, such as on Iran.
“President Obama has said that the odds of reaching a comprehensive agreement are no more than 50-50,” Clinton said, referring to the U.S.-led talks between the major powers and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program.
“I personally am skeptical that the Iranians will follow through and deliver. I’ve seen many false hopes dashed over the years,” she said. “We will have to be tough, clear-eyed and ready to walk away and increase the pressure if need be.
“No deal is better than a bad deal,” Clinton told the non-partisan group, which does not endorse candidates. “From my perspective, we cannot and should not accept any agreement that endangers Israel or our own national security.”
Robert Wexler, the former Democratic congressman from Florida who was the first major Jewish politician to join the Obama campaign, in early 2007, said the differences Clinton is emphasizing reflected not just her worldview, but also the changed foreign policy reality she heads into should she announce for the presidency.
Miller: “Hillary had no interest in being a linchpin”
Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator under a succession of Republicans and Democrats, including Bill Clinton, said Hillary Clinton was a good soldier for Obama’s bid to transform the world, but also demonstrated understanding that her boss may have overreached.
“She understood the world was not a transformative place, it was transactional,” said Miller, now vice president at the Wilson Center, a foreign policy think tank. “In that respect she was much more hawkish on Syria,” where Clinton joined calls for a U.S. strike on the Assad regime to contain the bloody civil war.
“On Israel-Palestinians she knew it was not going anywhere,” Miller said. “If the president wanted her to focus on it, she did it in a rhetorical way, but she had no interest in being a linchpin.”
Hillary promises a hard line on nuclear talks with Iran
As her Jewish campaign goes forward, a source close to Clinton said, she and others close to her will subtly introduce three areas of Middle East policy in which her 2008 differences with Obama were validated over time.
In each case, the source argued, Clinton was vindicated. Ahmadinejad ignored Obama’s spring 2009 call for dialogue with Iran’s leadership. The legislative bid to designate the Revolutionary Guards as terrorist did not pass, but the guards were implicated in the violent repression of mass Iranian protests following the contested 2009 presidential election and were accused of torturing and raping men and women in prisons around Iran.
As for Durban II, the Obama administration at first sought avenues through which U.S. participation would prevent an anti-Israel tone, but eventually conceded this was unlikely and chose not to participate. The person who made the decision was Samantha Power, then a National Security Council member, who had derided Clinton as a “monster” during the campaign and championed engagement in international forums.
Steve Rabinowitz, a publicist who works with Jewish and Democratic groups, said Clinton might have work to do in a pro-Israel community that had avidly embraced her during her Senate career.
“I hope people can draw the distinction between Hillary the person who we know and love and Hillary the loyal secretary of state for the guy who beat her and embraced her,” Rabinowitz said.
Judging from the reaction to her AJC speech, Clinton is on her way. Speaking immediately after her was Matthew Bronfman, a member of the group’s executive council.
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Who needs a Republican candidate when we got Ms Clinton?