Hillary Clinton gave a speech last night at the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Although at the time of this writing a full transcript was not available, it seems to be one part backpedal and one part recycled AIPAC talking points. As to the first, she insisted, “We know that we cannot force a solution. The parties themselves must resolve their differences.” This seemed to suggest that no “imposed” peace deal is in the offing — at least for now. But who knows with this crowd? Hillary Clinton’s definition of “forcing” a solution may be different from Bibi’s.
As to the second, she repeated the pablum first heard at AIPAC last month that the current situation is not sustainable. (“Israelis and Palestinians alike must confront the reality that the status quo has not produced long-term security or served their interests, and accept their share of responsibility for reaching a comprehensive peace that will benefit both sides.”) She says these things, I suppose, so we will conclude that the “only” sustainable option is a peace deal, and therefore a peace deal is the way to go. Yes, it does appear that simplistic. And, yes, it does seem to ignore the underlying reality: there is no peace deal in sight and there won’t be for quite a while. Although the status quo, with some significant improvements in the lives of West Bank inhabitants, is not ideal, it’s the only realistic option in the short term — and given the Palestinians’ predilection for victimology and rejectionism, which has been mightily encouraged by the Obami, it might be what we are going to see for a very long time.
Hillary Clinton at AIPAC last month was clearly in a defensive mode, trying to burnish her own credentials as a friend of Israel. At that time, the American Jewish community was nervous but persuadable. So she tried to assuage them with a jaw-droppingly disingenuous recitation of Obama policy and assurance that the relationship was “rock solid.” We are way beyond that now, and virtually none of the 7,000-plus people in that convention hall would today buy her spin. One wonders how she feels being the errand girl for a president who has thrown overboard the intimate U.S.-Israel relationship and seemingly done the impossible — rile up American Jewry against a liberal president. Does she worry her legacy will bear the scars of Obama’s Israel animus? Does she care? Or like Scarlett, she’ll worry about it another day? After all, the potential Obama legacy — a nuclear-armed Iran and serious damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship — will be hers as well.