John Kerry’s utterances and the Israel bashing from negotiator Martin Indyk, it’s par for the course.
2. Bill Clinton still plays loose with the facts. He opined that “don’t forget, both [former Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat and [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas later tried to say they would take [the Camp David deal]. They said, ‘We changed our minds, we want it now.’ But by then, they had a government that wouldn’t give it to them.” This is nonsense. It was Clinton who complained bitterly to the incoming Bush administration that Arafat was a snake in the grass and not to be trusted. He of course initiated the intifada, which was Arafat’s real response to the attempt to broker peace. As for Abbas, he was given an even better deal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and turned it down. Netanyahu in 2013, of course, confirmed Israel’s willingness to recognize a Palestinian state. Abbas has never agreed to recognize a Jewish state and give up the so-called right of return. Why does Clinton feel the need to embellish history to make Israel look bad?
3. This does complicate Hillary Clinton’s charm offensive with Israel. She’d like us to believe she’s not like President Obama when it comes to Israel, however relations reached a nadir under the Obama-Clinton administration, and she certainly took to slamming Israel in public for starting housing within existing Jewish neighborhoods.
4. If Bill Clinton is going to keep up the chatter during the presidency, voters may well attribute his comments — and ignorance — to Hillary Clinton or, worse, be reminded that his presence hovering in the White House would make for a whole lot of awkward moments.
As with defense spending, the war against the Islamic State and a more muscular foreign policy, when it comes to Israel the Democratic Party is going to be pushing against even a president to the right of Obama. He or she will be swimming upstream against a party that has been flowing away from Israel for decades. In the GOP, the dynamic is reversed. The base, especially in light of events during the Obama years, is going to be weighing in on the side of Israel and for a more robust response toward terrorists. These things make a difference.