No sooner has the presidential election ended than the 2016 campaign is upon us.
New Yorker editor David Remnick sends the first smoke signal by declaring that Hillary Clinton is going to run for president.
Republicans, take notice. Many Republicans have praised Secretary of State Clinton effusively. They might live to regret it.
Let’s see, fresh from her masterful handling of the Benghazi horror and from her skillful efforts to build up the prestige of Egyptian President Morsi, Hillary Clinton is now considered to be a plausible presidential candidate.
And let’s not forget that when she met the father of one of the Navy Seals who was killed in Benghazi Clinton promised swift justice for… the filmmaker.
Indeed, highly qualified.
All of this notwithstanding, Remnick noted that at last week’s Saban forum Hillary Clinton was greeted with an adulation that would have been worthy, in his words, of former Soviet Capo Leonid Brezhnev:
No kidding. Remnick wrote:
The tone was so reverential that it resembled the sort of film that the Central Committee of the Communist Party might have produced for Leonid Brezhnev’s retirement party if Leonid Brezhnev would only have retired and the Soviets had been in possession of advanced video technology.
If anyone else had said that the Saban forum was nostalgic for the Soviet Union the outcry would be deafening.
Given that this was a Jewish group the issue on most peoples’ minds was the Middle East.
A dutiful leftist like Remnick introduces Clinton's views by offering a few gratuitous swipes at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. From the Obama administration on down the fault for the 65 year impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians is entirely Netanyahu's.
Remnick gets lathered up over Netanyahu’s supposed efforts to embarrass the American president, but completely ignores the fact that Obama an Clinton have not only taken the Palestinian side on the settlement issue, but began their tenure by trying to humiliate the Israeli prime minister on several occasions.
When Israel responded to the United Nations vote on Palestine last week by announcing its intention to build more settlements, the Obama-Clinton team expressed disapproval. Yet, European nations summoned Israeli ambassadors for a dressing down.
Some have suggested, no doubt correctly, that the American government must have approved.
Remnick, of course, has nothing to say about the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and blames the empowerment of Hamas on Netanyahu’s failure to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority.
He ignores the fact that that Mahmoud Abbas, the man with whom Remnick wants Netanyahu to negotiate, just declared Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Palestine.
Where Remnick was offering a leftist blame-Israel-first screed, Clinton presented a more balanced analysis of the conflict. Since Remnick’s summary distorts what Clinton said, we will use a transcript.
Clinton opened her discussion of the question with this reasonable point:
Well, look, I think Israelis have good grounds to be suspicious. And I would never be one who tries to rewrite or dismiss history. The Palestinians could have had a state as old as I am if they had made the right decision in 1947. They could have had a state if they had worked with my husband and then-Prime Minister Barak at Camp David. They could have had a state if they’d worked with Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni.
Now, would it have been a perfectly acceptable outcome for every Israeli and every Palestinian? No. No compromise ever is. But there were moments of opportunity. And I will also say this. When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze I flew to Jerusalem. We’d been working on this. George Mitchell had been taking the lead on it. And when Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze, it wasn’t perfect. It didn’t cover East Jerusalem, but it covered much of the contested area in the West Bank.
She and Remnick might have noticed that, since 1947, Palestinian policy has consistently refused all offers of a two-state solution because it wants one state: greater Palestine… that comprises the area now called Israel.
Intriguingly, Clinton does say that after Yassir Arafat turned down her husband’s offer, he had a change of heart and telephoned the then ex-president to explain that he wanted to accept it.
According to Hillary Clinton, her husband told Arafat to contact the Bush administration.
Note how cleverly Hillary Clinton is manipulating minds. She is saying that the fault for the continued conflict lies squarely with the Bush administration. There is no way to prove or disprove that the call took place, but you will surely hear more of this theme.
Remnick follows Obama administration policy and blames conditions in Gaza and the West Bank on what he calls the “grinding occupation.”
By implication, he is suggesting that without the “grinding” Israeli occupation Palestine would have a standard of living equal to that of unoccupied Jordan and unoccupied Syria.
Remnick never mentions that Palestinian terrorism might have something to do with Israeli policy. For her part Clinton does mention terrorism, but never suggests that Hamas is accountable for it.
Remnick was willing to excuse Clinton for being too gentle with the Israelis; she was refashioning her beliefs to appeal to a Jewish audience. In his words, she only told the Israelis that they needed to demonstrate greater “generosity” toward the Palestinians.
In so saying, Remnick was bowdlerizing Clinton’s message to fit the mindset of gullible New Yorker readers.
Here is what Clinton really said:
So, look, I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion. So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds, and they want to figure out, within the bounds of security and a Jewish democratic state, what can be accomplished.
These lines have caused a minor brouhaha, first, because they were spoken by an eventual presidential candidate, but also because they represent Obama administration policy.
When the Secretary of State speaks on the record in a public forum her words are policy.
One understands that Hillary Clinton is married to the king of empathy, the man who made a political career on feeling everyone’s pains. Bill Clinton also had a successful career as a seducer by feeling women’s pain, but decorum prevents us from exploring that side of the story.
I promise you that Hillary's supporters do not want to think of the fact that she owes her career to her superhuman power to absorb humiliation. Even if they feel her pain, they do not want to talk about it.
By saying that Israelis needed to show more empathy, Hillary Clinton was really saying that they needed more therapy.
She was also saying that Jewish people do not understand, do not have a visceral feeling for what it is like to be persecuted.
At the least, this is grossly disrespectful. I guarantee you that she will not lose a single Jewish vote for disrespecting Jewish experience.
That people are so gob smacked by the presence of Hillary Clinton that they did not notice the insult.
You may or may not think that Israel was being generous, but it did withdraw from Gaza in 2005.For its pains it received a reward: thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
Gazans have not created a functioning society or a productive economy but they have learned how to exploit the empathy of Westerners who have had too much therapy.
The absence of Israelis in their territory has not stopped them from complaining about being occupied. Now they blame the Israeli blockade.
One would imagine, listening to Clinton, that the Israelis are continuing the blockade because they are insensitive to the feelings of the poor people who voted for Hamas.
When Clinton suggests that the Israelis are overly suspicious of the intentions of Hamas, she is implying that they need some extra therapy for their paranoid thinking.
Were the Israelis to adopt Clintonian empathy, they would be adopting a posture of weakness.
If you are competing, in the marketplace, the arena or the battlefield, you had best not feel empathy for your opponent.
The Western world is awash in empathy for the Palestinians. It is equally awash in contempt for Israel.
If the Palestinians were not persuaded that international public opinion, to say nothing of the Obama administration, is on their side they might be more willing to negotiate.
Why negotiate when you believe that you can get what you want by other means?