Hillary Clinton is the worst presidential candidate on Israel since Barack Obama, who was the worst ever. Indeed, the only reason Democrats have convinced themselves she is pro-Israel is that, relative to Obama, she is. But Hillary Clinton’s record on Israel is so bad that not even people paid to advocate on her behalf can name a single thing she has done for Israel.
And while Donald Trump is a newcomer to politics and foreign policy, his positions already make him a far better candidate.
Trump is the first American presidential nominee to tell the Israelis that they should keep building settlements in the West Bank as long as the Palestinians refuse to abandon terror and refuse to negotiate a peace agreement. While the left reacted in horror, the proposal is the first that would restore Israel’s negotiating leverage.
Until now, the penalty for Palestinian terror is … exactly nothing. In fact, the Obama administration has rewarded Palestinian terror with more aid. Why would they stop?
Whatever you think of the Israeli settlement project — and it is a complicated topic — it has to be clear to the Palestinians that they are losing their opportunity for statehood by continuing to reject peace.
Until now, the message has been that there is no amount of murder or incitement that would cause the American patrons of the Palestinian cause to cut off the cash flow. The Donald’s proposal is a total reset, a new opening offer that will, ironically, lead to more fruitful peace negotiations in the end.
Some of Trump’s pro-Israel critics attack him for saying he would be “neutral” between Israelis and Palestinians. But they are deliberately distorting his remarks: he said he would be neutral in the context of mediating a peace negotiation. That is pure common sense. Trump has long acknowledged that the Palestinian side is primarily responsible for the impasse, that “the other side has been trained from the time they’re children to hate Jewish people.” He wants to try again — on tougher terms.
Contrast that with Hillary Clinton. Not only is it impossible to name anything positive she has achieved for Israeli, but it is also quite easy to name several things she has done to cause real damage. First and foremost is the Iran deal, which she helped negotiate and supports enthusiastically. Then there is her courtship of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has accused Israel of “genocide.” Even Alan Dershowitz, a noted Clinton supporter, says “no decent person” should be associated with it.
Then there was the infamous episode in 2010, when Hillary Clinton proudly berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the telephone for 45 minutes because of an announcement of new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. The Obama administration, Hillary included, was eager to show that it had humiliated the Israeli leader. Nothing was achieved for the cause of peace, but Israel’s enemies were emboldened by the unusual public condemnation.
It is true that Israelis remember President Bill Clinton fondly, especially for his mourning at the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. But as First Lady, Hillary Clinton was always more radical on the Israeli-Palestinian issue than her husband. In 1998, she became the first major American political figure to endorse a Palestinian state — a statement so harmful to ongoing peace negotiations that her husband’s policy aides had to rush to distance the White House from her views. A year later, she embraced and kissed Suha Arafat, the wife of Palestinian terrorist and tyrant Yasser Arafat, when Mrs. Arafat falsely accused Israel of using poison gas on Palestinian women and children — a particularly galling charge, given the Holocaust.
The illusion that Hillary Clinton is pro-Israel is sustained by a self-regarding establishment that has insinuated itself into her inner circle, yet has failed to stop her worst policies and impulses.
For pro-Israel voters, Trump is the only possible choice.