Hillary Clinton might be America’s next president. And, as with every election cycle, the US relationship with Israel is going to be a major part of each candidate’s platform.
People want to know what Hillary, and every other candidate, really thinks about Israel. Not what they’re willing to say from the podium in order to get elected. But their true feelings.
And that goes doubly so for attitudes toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose rocky relations with current US President Barack Obama were at the center of a souring US-Israel friendship in recent years.
Fortunately, Hillary inadvertently told us just about all we need to know in some of those once-private emails that have now been made public amidst her email server scandal.
In May 2010, while Hillary was serving as US Secretary of State, Israel intercepted a flotilla attempting to break the Gaza maritime blockade. Israeli soldiers boarded the flagship, the Mavi Marmara, where they were violently attacked and forced to defend themselves. A number of soldiers were injured and 10 flotilla activists were killed in the brief scuffle.
The Obama White House was none too pleased by this development, and Clinton’s chief advisor, Sidney Blumenthal, pushed her to see it as a result of Netanyahu’s failed leadership.
According to one of Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton, Netanyahu was still trying to live up to the memory of his brother Yoni, who fell in the daring 1976 Israeli raid on Entebe, and to win his father’s approval.
“Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother…(he) has never measured up,” wrote Blumenthal, ignoring the fact that “Bibi” had had his own distinguished military career, and was by that point close to becoming Israel’s longest serving prime minister ever (he has since surpassed David Ben Gurion).
Desperate to make the connection, Blumenthal insisted that “the raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe, except that there are no hostages, no guns (on the Turkish ship), it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe.”
In Blumenthal’s view, the entire Gaza flotilla “fiasco” was nothing more than a carefully orchestrated slap in Obama’s face by an angry Netanyahu.
The email records show that Clinton almost immediately forwarded Blumenthal’s email to adviser Jake Sullivan with the message “fyi, and itys” – meaning “for your information” and “I told you so.”