Israel In US Presidential Politics And Foreign Policy – OpEd


As we come to the close of Pres. Obama’s second term and near the 2016 presidential election, it’s time to make a few predictions about the role Israel will play in the coming campaign and how U.S. foreign policy will play out in the region.  To do this, I have to make a prognostication about who will win the election.  At this point, I’d say the odds-on favorite to win is Hillary Clinton.  To be very clear, I don’t support her and won’t vote for her (I support Bernie Sanders in the primary campaign).

If you look at every GOP presidential candidate, I don’t think any of them have the gravitas to beat Clinton.  I don’t by any means think she’s a stellar candidate.  She obviously has flaws and blind spots.  She can be beaten–Barack Obama showed that in 2008.  But I don’t think that will happen this time around.

So if Hillary wins, what are the prospects for Israel-Palestine?  In a word, bleak.  Even bleaker than they are today.

The truth is that while Barack Obama offered the best chance of changing the dynamic in the conflict and taking bold steps toward solving it–he wasted all his efforts.  I’ve written about the reasons for his failures many times before here.  Suffice to say, that the violence we are now witnessing is in large part the result of Obama’s failures in this realm.  He had eight years to accomplish something and he did virtually nothing.  A few stabs at piecemeal measures which Netanyahu parried easily.  Then he was done.  Spent.

Clinton will have none of the positive energy that Obama had in his first two years in office.  She will not take bold stands.  She will settle for the status quo, which means more and greater violence.  Israel can continue its downward slide toward what looks more and more like fascism to me.  Israelis can continue voting in more and more extreme governments safe in the knowledge that Clinton will, at best, make feeble protestations about preserving democracy and supporting two states.  These ideas will become more and more laughingstocks.

If she serves two terms, it means eight more years of murder of Israeli Jews and Palestinians.  It means at least two or three more wars in Gaza.  It may mean a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.  Given the numbers killed in the past such wars, we can expect another 10,000 dead over that span of time.  No, it’s not Rwanda.  But must we wait till 800,000 die before Hillary Clinton will get off her ass and break out of her Zio-mindset?

Hillary, as almost all readers here know, is bought lock, stock and barrel by Haim Saban.  He will not only contribute millions to her campaign (he’s contributed $2-million even at this early date in the 2016 campaign), he will draw other pro-Israel donors into the fold.  He will be the Israel Lobby’s enforcer in Hillary’s camp.  He will also get to lobby for cabinet posts and State Department staff assignments for the Zio-faithful.  Look to Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, David Makovsky and the whole tired bunch of Zio-mats (Zio-diplomats) to rear their ugly heads once again, regurgitating the same tired concepts which failed in the past administrations in which they served.  Ross, given his level of self-regard, may tout himself Secretary of State material (Lord help us!).  Saban will certainly be his chief champion.

The one bold stroke Obama took which he will hand to Hillary on a silver platter is the opportunity for détente with Iran.  If she continues his policy of engaging Iran and exploring the possibility of resolving intractable conflicts like those in Syria and Lebanon, in which Iran has a deep and vested interest–then she too may make a mark in the region, even if she fails on Israel-Palestine.  But that is an open question.  I don’t know if she has the courage, vision and political savvy to continue along Obama’s road.

I doubt anyone will ask me why I won’t vote for Hillary.  It seems obvious.  But in case anyone does want it spelled out, I think four or eight years of Hillary means more mass death in the Middle East.

This article was published at Tikun Olam.

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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