Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC, Demonizes Iran, Palestinians

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

I once heard Hillary Clinton give her AIPAC speech at a university. It doesn’t change much, just as US policy toward the Mideast doesn’t change much. She was still a senator then. Much of the audience was Middle East experts, who could barely keep themselves from gagging.

Clinton used her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the gathering of some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, to lambaste Donald Trump for saying he’d try to be neutral in heading up negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Donald Trump should be lambasted. He is wrong on everything most of every day. But, like a clock, he is right twice a day and this a point on which he is correct. The US cannot be an honest broker in the Mideast conflict if it is more Israeli than the Israelis, which it typically is. Palestinian negotiators over the years complained that they’d get an Israeli proposal, then go to the US to tweak it, and get back the same proposal from Dennis Ross or some other American partisan of Israel who had been put in a position to shape negotiations on the American side.

For Clinton to imply that Trump, by saying he wanted to be neutral in negotiations, was indicating that he would compromise on Israeli security is just dishonest. I’m not sure what conventional security threats Israel has. Lebanon is weak and a mess. Syria is in complete disarray. Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties with Israel. Those are the immediate neighbors. Libya has fallen apart. Tunisia doesn’t care and anyway is also small and weak. Turkey and Israel have their tensions, but do a great deal of business, including military business, with each other. Iraq is in disarray. Iran is so distant as to pose no conventional threat, and does not have nuclear weapons, which Israel does. So what is the threat to Israeli security Clinton is talking about? It is that Palestinian children might not have to live under Occupation.

Clinton perpetuates the Israeli propaganda talking point that they are the ones who are being oppressed, and that even-handed moves toward peace threaten their security, which is alleged to be precarious.

This propaganda is so successful that most Americans probably do not know that Israel, a country of 8 million, is occupying 4.5 million stateless Palestinians.


The collapse of the peace process and the current Apartheid in a Palestine wholly occupied by the foreign Israeli military is not the fault of the Palestinians, who are weak, and stateless and powerless. No written-down deal has ever been offered them but Oslo, and current PM Netanyahu publicly and openly vowed to destroy Oslo, which he has. By now he has reneged on every single provision of the commitments Israel made in the 1990s. The US has actively enabled the continued imprisonment of the Palestinian people in the iron cage of statelessness. As [Earl Warren] observed, citizenship is the right to have rights. Palestinians have been actively prevented from being citizens of a state, and so they have no right to have rights. Any accord conducted with them can be broken at will by the powerful, nuclear-armed Israeli state, and has been. The only brake on this oppression of a whole people would be the UN Security Council, which is keenly aware of this historic and interminable set of wrongs. But the US vetoes all the resolutions passed by the UNSC (including ones championed by our allies, Britain and France).

Now that Sec. Clinton has so forcefully rejected the whole idea that the US could ever be even-handed toward the Palestinians, shouldn’t she at least recuse herself at the UN Security Council on this issue?

Another plank of her platform was combating people’s right to decline to buy Israeli-made goods, to decline to have their stocks in companies that enable the Occupation, and to seek sanctions on Israel for breaking the Geneva Conventions by illegally flooding its own citizens onto Palestinian lands. It is extremely ominous to have someone who is likely the next POTUS declare against Americans’ rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights. I myself don’t agree with boycotting Israel proper, but I would have in good conscience to boycott squatter institutions on the West Bank. But it is absurd to interfere with other peoples’ decisions on whether to buy, e.g., wine made by Israeli squatters in Syria’s Golan.

She went on to say:

“As we gather here, three evolving threats — Iran’s continued aggression, a rising tide of extremism across a wide arc of instability, and the growing effort to de-legitimize Israel on the world stage — are converging to make the U.S.-Israel alliance more indispensable than ever.”

Well, Iran is stronger in the region because it picked up Iraq as an ally after Clinton voted to overthrow the Sunni government there. It is kind of rich for her to go around invading other countries illegally and then accuse Iran of aggression. (Iran’s 2500 spec ops personnel in Syria were there at the behest of a long-standing government in control of 75% of the country, so that can’t be equated with sending in 120,000 troops to overthrow a foreign government. I don’t like either regime, but I reject this inevitable comeback as apples and oranges).

Clinton has just joined the Republican field in pledging to squander and throw away the diplomatic opening President Obama made with Tehran (she denies, in fact, that there even is a diplomatic opening). She does support the UNSC nuclear deal, but says relations with Iran go no further than that. Since Trump says he just wants to tweak that deal, her position on Iran is probably more hawkish than his.

Likewise, much of the rising tide of extremism comes from the overthrow of the Iraqi state and the dissolution of the Iraqi army. As for Syria, it was in part undermined by the US economic boycott on it via the 2003 Syria accountability act. This bill was co-sponsored by . . . Hillary Clinton. And, it is never clear with the inside-the-beltway crowd who the extremists are. It is still not clear that she repudiates hard line Salafi Jihadi groups in Syria allied de facto with al-Qaeda. You can’t get stability by overthrowing governments, squeezing governments, and continuing to support groups that go extremist after they go extremist.

That is, many of the things Clinton is complaining about in the Middle East are the result of her policies (mostly the same as AIPAC policies). And when the West Bank explodes in hot civil war, that will be a result of her policies, too.

And of course among the most deadly extremists are the Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank. They are armed and dangerous, routinely shoot at innocent Palestinians in a low-intensity civil war, and routinely invade and usurp Palestinian property. They are building vast colonies from which Palestinian residents are excluded, in a mindless replication of the policies of White South Africa in the 1980s. And every time they shoot a Palestinian or steal her home, it is front page news in the Muslim world, and sentiments like those of Sec. Clinton are remembered, fanning hatred against the US. If the Israeli squatters were admirable people doing something admirable, then it would be worthwhile standing up for them even if it increased anti-US terrorism. But they are just criminals, openly breaking every tenet of international law. So standing up for them is morally wrong as well as, policy-wise, completely wrong-headed. In the US, the Israel lobbies do what they can to have anyone who is critical of the squatters blackballed, smeared and marginalized, using techniques redolent of those of cults.

Clinton has just announced a diction and a set of policies toward the Middle East that differ in no particular from those of far right Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


Related video:

AFP: “Hillary Clinton addresses AIPAC lobby annual meeting”

48 Responses

  1. Well come on now Prof. Juan; don’t hold back here.
    Tell us what you really think.
    More bat-shit craziness from the US Neo-Cons.
    The Forever War abides and marches onward.

  2. “You can’t get stability by overthrowing governments, squeezing governments, and continuing to support groups that go extremist after they go extremist.” Absolutely correct, yet when a Democratic president does it, it’s for noble reasons. It’s depressing the US election comes down to a third rate Mussolini with a 4th grade reading level and an American Thatcher with a bigger military and more blood lust.

  3. AFP denied the video from this website. :/

    I think the article was enough for me anyway.

  4. When discussing Craven Clinton, why not tell all? No, wait, you’d need a book for that. Good stuff, Prof.

    Drumf was there, so vas that Dracula look-alike and the guy from Ohio, but where was Bernie? Not invited? Chose to ignore the Aipackers

  5. Dick Cheney in a pantsuit.

    I can either vote for Trump, God help me, or I can stay home. Those are my choices on election day.

  6. Hillary and the neocons are on the wrong side of history.

    Sure Israel is “winning” right now, but it will probably not survive in the long term. As Thomas Jones (1892 – 1969) noted . . . “Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.”

    Hillary may think the USA can protect Israel forever, but the second Israel causes Americans any direct problems, Americans will follow their old familiar pattern and summarily throw Israel overboard, along with Hillary if she tries to resist.

    I see this as just another example of Hillary being out of touch with the American people. I do not think Americans want any more war – they just want individual prosperity and peace.

    Sure, many are scared about the so-called terrorists, but the reality is the more the USA meddles in the ME, the worse it will be in the USA. So, any further support of Israel and more wars in the ME, the LESS safe Americans are.

    In REALITY Iran is NOT the problem, but Saudi Arabia is.

  7. Whereas Donald Trump embarrassed AIPAC with his political satire, Hillary Clinton did it with her hypocrisy.
    Hope that Bernie Sanders prevails.

  8. Apart from her support for the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, her flippant remarks about Qadhafi “we came, we saw, he died”, followed by her trademark laughter, her use of her private email for classified communication, etc. this speech by itself disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being the leader of the most powerful country in the world with global responsibilities.

    The United States has always been great and successful when she has abided by her democratic principles and the dreams of the early founders for justice, equality, non-entanglement in foreign conflicts and leading by example. Unfortunately, none of the Republican presidential candidates, nor Hillary Clinton represent those qualities.

    How can Clinton claim that she is an honest broker in one of the oldest and most contentious conflicts in the world when she is so fawning to an apartheid state that has occupied millions of dispossessed Palestinians for decades, that has amassed an arsenal of illegal nuclear weapons, that has committed many war crimes in repeated attacks against Lebanon and Gaza, that has assassinated as many as 800 Palestinians and other nationals including scientists with targeted killings, and that openly violates dozens of UNSC resolutions.

    If any other country had committed a fraction of those crimes, Clinton would have advocated invading it or “wiping it out” as she did in the case of Iran. Not only do these policies not endear America to 1.6 billion Muslims throughout the world, they are even alienating many Europeans who see America forsaking her role as the leader of the free world, and acting as a champion of invasions and regime changes, giving irrational support to a terrorist state and forsaking her legacy of freedom and democracy.

    The late Yasser Arafat often used to say that he found it less difficult to talk to Netanyahu and Sharon than to Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, the representatives of a superpower who were allegedly acting impartially and in good faith as honest brokers to bring peace to the Middle East. The sight of American presidential candidates humiliating themselves in front of a lobby working on behalf of a foreign government is truly puzzling and demeaning. Bernie Saunders is the only candidate who has maintained his dignity.

    • “How can Clinton claim that she is an honest broker…”

      I haven’t heard her make that claim. Have you? If so, she’s either delusional or lying. Take your pick.

  9. Oslo itself was a failure

    Arafat was ambushed by Clinton and Barak, when both presented him a deal that was much more favorable to Israel than to Palestine.

    In a nutshell, Arafat was presented with “a take it or leave it deal” either Palestinians had to give up their claims to most of East Jerusalem and forfeit their Right of Return,

    and in return Palestinians would “gain” a non-contiguous state on parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or the whole Clinton-Barak offer had to be rejected outright; which he did.

    According to Barak’s offer, the proposed Palestinian areas would have been cut from East to West and from North to South, so that the Palestinian state would have consisted of a group of islands, each surrounded by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

    No sovereign nation would accept such an arrangement-that could hinder its strategic national security and interests,

    The occupied West Bank and Gaza strip have more Israeli Jewish colonies and bypass roads than ever,

    The Oslo Agreement’s fundamental flaw was that it had attempted to scratch the surface of the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and not to necessarily solve them.

    Any agreement, similar to the Oslo Agreement, is destined for failure if it won’t address the core issues of the conflict, such as the Palestinian Right of Return, the status of Jerusalem, water allocations, and the borders of the emerging states.

    link to palestineremembered.com

  10. Totally and completely agree. That may the sole and most glaring reason I will not pull the lever for this woman.

  11. And we are to believe that a Trump presidency would be worse? That Sanders should withdraw? To call such a suggestion “absurd”, as Sanders generously and with admirable restraint called it, is the understatement of the campaign.

  12. Thank you for your clearheaded analysis Professor. Clinton is downright odious and we can all expect plenty more wars should she become president.

    I’m waiting for you to write about Trump’s speech to Aipac. His first line was something like “I’m not a politician, so I didn’t come here to pander to Israel.” Then, over the next 30 minutes he proceeded to pander to every talking point of the hard line Israelis. Scary stuff.

    We are in deep trouble with these two running for president. I think I’m getting depressed.

    • Yes, this article should mention that Trump; said that there should be no light between US policy and Israel. He also called for the US to move its embassy to Jerusalem, which would be a major change in US policy going back decades. Despite his earlier talk, Trump is no better than Clinton. Only Sanders comes close to being reasonable.

  13. Minor correction: It was not Warren Burger but Earl Warren who in the 1958 Perez v. Brownell wrote, ““citizenship is man’s basic right for it is nothing less than the right to have rights. Remove this priceless possession and there remains a stateless person, disgraced and degraded in the eyes of his countrymen. He has no lawful claim to protection from any nation, and no nation may assert rights on his behalf.” link to caselaw.findlaw.com This itself is a sentiment carrying on from Hannah Arendt, who writing in The Origin of Totalitarianism makes the same point that statelessness is essentially the denial of the right to have rights.

  14. I still can’t figure out what’s the long-term goal of our policies. In the short-run, we can continue with these policies of supporting settler-colonialism in the West Bank, and the associated policies of military interventions across the middle east. In the next decade, when West Bank has been almost completely annexed with the exception of a few segregated Palestinian enclaves, will we support a forced population transfer of Palestinians from West Bank to Jordan? That appears to be the only logical conclusion of our policies, given that the alternative of giving Palestinians in the West Bank Israeli citizenship appears anathema to the current Israeli government. Or, maybe, for the medium-term, we plan on turning Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank into Gaza-type Bantustans. This outcome, however, also does not seem sustainable.

    • Nothing about Israel is sustainable.

      I think a fair number of USA politicians, including Obama, understand this, but are too cowardly to talk about REALITY and just hope the brown stuff doesn’t hit the fan until after they have “enriched” themselves as much as possible and lived as long a life as possible. That is, every politician in the USA is short term focused and unwilling to tell the American public the truth since most Americans are extremely poorly informed and would probably not believe the truth anyway.

      Think about fact that over 25% of Americans STILL think Obama was not born in the USA and/or is a Muslim.

      Taking the long view and following the flow of history predicts a very, very bad future for Israel.

      Due to global trade, global communication and rapid advances in technology, Israel has NO MILITARY ADVANTAGE. In fact the Israeli military suffers from the same “high-tech” syndrome as the USA and is actually very unprepared for the next war which they have a 50% chance of losing.

      Israel also has very severe internal social problems and will suffer a very serious “brain drain” in the near term leaving few tax payers and lots of freeloaders. Why should a young Israelis stay in a hot combat zone when they can easily live a much better life many places on earth. While some parts of the world do have discrimination against Jews, MOST of the world is very open to them. Discrimination against Jews is wildly exaggerated.

      As for trying to forcibly remove Arabs from west of the Jordan River, that would simply lead to massive war and destroy the relationship between the USA and Israel. In reality while many Americans give lukewarm approval of Israel, there are close to zero Americans that are willing to see their way of life damaged by Israel.

      The REALITIES are:

      – Israel can NOT provide a viable chunk of land for Palestine – the “two state” solution is completely dead and if Obama was smart, on his way out the door, he would publicly say that to the next POTUS.

      – Israel can NOT remove the Arabs from west of the Jordan River.

      – Abbas and the PLO will be gone in less than five years (actually probably by the end of 2017) . . .

      – America will lose power to other parts of the globe and will be less and less willing to protect Israel. The other parts of the globe have no desire to protect Israel but simply want to strip-mine Israel for intellectual property and as Asians rapidly eclipse Israel technology, Israel has less and less each day to trade with. Today, most of what Israel trades with can be purchased in equal quality for less many other places on earth.

      Basically, Israelis have boxed themselves into only one long term solution – a bi-national non-religious or ethnic state where everyone has equal rights and eventually the Arabs are a majority and Jews a large (~40%) minority.

      Any other solution is not viable and would lead to massive war which Israel would lose.

  15. Americans need to learn about the Yinon Plan, and the Clean Break Strategy, that has been in play for at least the last 15 years, if not longer. I blame this lack of knowledge on the news media. Hillary is more war. America needs to work on domestic infrastructure projects. The Middle East needs less Zionist inspired military action by the U.S..

  16. As I have thought after reading so many of your posts, thank you for your sane analysis of the situation in the Middle East and our government’s response to it.

  17. Clinton used her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the gathering of some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, to lambaste Donald Trump for saying he’d try to be neutral in heading up negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    At least Hillary has shown some degree of honesty for a change by inadvertently making obvious American policy regarding the Israelis and Palestinians has not been one of an honest broker and will not be one if she is elected president. What a ghastly thought!!!

    It is truly mind-boggling to witness eminent citizens such as Meryl Streep, George Clooney and others like them endorse this 20th/21st Century Lady Macbeth.

  18. And I thought Marco Rubio’s comments on being not neutral and against Palestinians publicly were surprising. Should’ve realized none of these open declarations bashing Trump’s ‘neutral’ comment by these candidates should be surprising at all.

    The anti-BDS sentiments or actions isn’t just a Clinton thing.
    Obama took action that undermined it and Sanders feels there’s some anti-semitism driving it. That’s your Democrats. At least Sanders has criticized Netanyahu and does suggest to being fair with Palestinians.

    The whole pandering to AIPAC thing reminds me of Saturday Night Live’s skit on Chuck Hagel’s nomination.
    link to liveleak.com

  19. Just one question Don Juan: did u approve boycotting Apartheid South Africa? If yes or no sorry but you are wrong here. We all should boycott the Apartheid Occupier Torturing Genocidal Israel

  20. Clinton has been doing in her official roles worse to people in many lands than Trump claims he would do as president to the people of Mexico or anywhere else.
    Trump says he would bring back waterboarding of identifiable individuals; Clinton has been in effect waterboarding and burning whole communities and sections of countries. But those lands and people are more distant, and not U.S. voters, so even though the blowback comes back against the U.S., the hypernationalist conditioning of the public, political liberals included, prevents all that from being recognized.
    What a choice!
    This is a choice?

  21. Gee, I wonder how many people here know the Palestinians rejected a 2-state solution in 1948… not that I expect to see this comment posted on a site that promotes Jew-hatred.

    • And do you know the reason why such a proposal was rejected, and with good reason? Hint: something to do with an unfair deal in the distribution of land to population, particularly one that was heavily unfavorable to the natives who would be displaced i.e. Palestinians. Is there suppose to be an expectation on the Palestinians of accepting terrible deals?

      At least your comment got posted. Thanks for bringing great points and examples on this site labeling criticism against Israel as ‘Jew-hatred’.

    • Dear Friend: Really, You wonder about it? Surely the Jewish People enjoyed Roman occupation and greek settlements in Judaea two thousand years ago.

      By the way, there are a lot of other ethnic groups in Canaan then and after: itureans, aramaeans, greek and arabs (before Islam).
      So, Do you like share your Homeland with foreign squatters? I found the palestinian posture in 1948logic. partition was a outright abuse of colonial powers.The Palestinian are Human beings and deserve respect like Jews.

  22. Hillary C is a huge disappointment. She must show she is as tough as the war mongering neocons. She has compromised her principles to throw the Palestinians under the bus, just to kiss up to the zionists, and there is no valid reason to do so.
    American Jews are not that into Israel as she is, and will vote for normal American policies like healthcare and the economy.
    All this sick devotion for Israel is to please her billionaire Jewish buddies, make them satisfied their money is worth the investment. Bernie Sanders has finally mentioned the suffering the Palestinians, the only American politician to even refer to the truth.

    • The Palestinian population is now well aware just how badly mistreated they are by the USA, which is why Abbas is having trouble staying in office.

      Unfortunately, probably within 5 years America’s very bad policy of supporting Israel and Arab dictators will blow back very badly. Due to large global changes, the USA is very vulnerable to blowback from 100+ years of very bad behavior.

  23. Well said as usual. But I’m surprised that Prof. Cole says ” I myself don’t agree with boycotting Israel proper”. Why not go “full South Africa” on this apartheid regime?

  24. Would it be wrong of me to point out that the Israeli occupation of Syria in the Golan Heights has been completely overlooked?

  25. At least this speech wasn’t made in secret.

    I donate to Bernie weekly. If he isn’t the Democrat’s candidate I might have to vote for Mr. Trump. I mean, Merrick Garland?! Really?!

  26. For the sake of the argument let us presume that both resolutions, the French on the illegality of the occupation and settlements, and the Jordanian/Palestinian on the creation of a Palestinian State, are passed by the United Nations Security Council and become a part of the Law of Nations. After all, it would take no more than declining to veto them and abstentions, though two “yeses” would make a cleaner and more forthright record.

    This would accomplish a lot:

    It would be consistent with decades-old American policy and interests;

    It would be done through purely ministerial acts with no need for the advice and consent of Congress; and

    It would shift the onerous duties of moving forward with solving the central issue in the Middle East to the Europeans where it lies naturally as matters of history and geography;

    it would relieve the pressure attendant to an already chaotic election cycle; and, finally,

    it would not interfere with our determination to defend Israel from invasion, which should be converted to a formal mutual defence treaty filed with international authorities and thus itself becoming a part of international law.

    It will take political and moral courage but little else.

  27. Juan, it might be worth noting that Hillary’s views actually represent the majority view of Americans overall, (of Independents, Republicans, but most notably, Democrats too!)

    link to content.gallup.com

    Israel is supported across ages, sexes, worship-frequency, different religious groups, and previous polls have this result across race groups too link to people-press.org

    • It is the conventional wisdom in America you refer to. Most Israelis and American Jews support a two-state solution as well. “Israel is supported across ages…..” But that doesn’t mean their occupation of Palastinian land is. The question is never put that way. Israel has been effective in making the Israeli/Palesetinian issue ‘either/or’ and pushing the falsehood that the two sides are equal/eaual which they are not. Few Americans even consider that the West Bank and Gaza are Palestinian lands, not part of Israel.

    • Be real careful about polls showing “support” for Israel.

      A BIG problem with the polls is they only measure superficial feelings and NEVER do a deep dive to question the limits where Americans would throw Israel to the wolves and there will definitely be limits.

      Right now, few Americans realize that their “support” for Israel endangers their lives, but the day that becomes clear, it is very likely that Israel will rapidly see a HUGE drop in support.

      As long as Americans have a deep racist bias against Muslim, Israel may get a pass, but if Americans are ever forced to face their racism and deal honestly with it, Israel may suffer a lot.

      I treat all the polls about Israel as fiction until a polling organization is willing to ask the deep and “ugly” questions, but due to the cultural bias in the USA against asking any questions about Israel, I am not expecting an honest poll any time soon.

  28. Clinton once again genuflected at the altar of Aipac…same as it ever was same as it ever was.

    Clinton is a war hawk through and through. Seldom see a glimpse of compassion…

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