It is now official. Hillary Clinton is Obama’s pick for secretary of state. I am really bummed.
During the primaries, Obama consistently said that Clinton showed bad judgment in the biggest foreign policy decision of her career, Iraq. Was he just being a slimy politician, saying what he thought would play, even though he didn’t believe it? Or does he truly believe that Hillary Clinton has poor judgment, but he is appointing her anyway because he thinks it will keep the party together. I’m not sure which scenario is more disappointing.
I’m particularly disappointed for what this means for Israel policy. Clinton has consistently come out on the side of the uber-Zionists, even when faced with massive evidence of human rights abuses and violations of international law by the Israeli government. Check out this report on the Lebanon war and Hillary’s speech at the end.
That speech was during her senate race in New York. Her democratic opponent was Jonathan Tasini. He is a Jew who lived in Israel and has seen first hand the situation on the ground. When he asserted that Israel had violated international law, Clinton spokespeople said his comments were “beyond the pale.” Tasini responded to them with a letter calling Clinton out for her irresponsible policies. I should note that human rights organizations agree with Tasini and that a 2007 Human Rights Watch report found that:
Israel’s indiscriminate airstrikes, not Hezbollah’s shielding as claimed by Israeli officials, caused most of the approximately 900 civilian deaths in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
The Israeli Palestinian conflict is a vitally important focus for any secretary of state. It isn’t just the conflict itself, but the backlash when we are seen as taking Israel’s side no matter what they do. World opinion polls consistently rate Israel as having a mostly negative effect on the world. We cannot dismiss this as pure anti-semitism. There are very legitimate criticisms to be made against Israeli government policies. When Bishop Desmond Tutu is comparing your policies to apartheid in South Africa, it’s time to listen.
The fact that the U.S. so rabidly defends Israel, including consistently using our UN security council veto to block resolutions related to Israeli crimes, is a major sticking point in any effort to improve our moral standing in the world. How do we turn over a new diplomatic leaf with an old, compromised hoe.