By Dmitriy Shapiro/JNS.org/Washington Jewish Week
While Hillary Rodham Clinton jets around the country promoting her newly released memoir “Hard Choices,” a group of prominent Jewish Democrats has placed bets on the former secretary of state in advance of her possible run for the presidency. Others, however, are using parts of the memoir to question her record on Israel.
Jewish Americans Ready for Hillary was launched June 3 as a vehicle to unite Clinton’s Jewish supporters nationally and encourage her to run for president in 2016. It is affiliated with the pro-Clinton super PAC (political action committee), Ready for Hillary.
“Ours is a community that just knows her really, really well, and so there are already clearly millions of American Jews who support her and many of whom were already signed up for Ready for Hillary,” said one of the Jewish group’s founders, Steve Rabinowitz, who served as White House director of design and productions for President Bill Clinton. “Now there’s just an opportunity for them to also sign up as Jewish Americans Ready for Hillary.”
The group’s launch comes as Hillary Clinton’s new memoir has made headlines in the Jewish community for other reasons. The former secretary of state writes in “Hard Choices” that the Obama administration made a tactical mistake by demanding an Israeli construction freeze that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implemented between 2009 and 2010.
“In retrospect, our early, hard line on settlements didn’t work,” writes Clinton, who explains that the American stance on the settlements hardened Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s position.
Yet the sentiment Clinton expresses in the book contrasts sharply with her stated views on Israeli construction while she served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. In May 2009, she told Al Jazeera, “We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth–any kind of settlement activity. That is what the president has called for.” Later that month, at a press conference with Egypt’s foreign minister, Clinton said Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements–not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.”
“Clinton today is attempting to recast herself as a more sensitive and evenhanded figure on these matters,” Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, wrote for the Weekly Standard. “She would have us believe that her role in the administration’s campaign of criticism, pressure, and crisis-creation against Israel was one of reluctant participant, a loyal official carrying out her duties despite having tried to dissuade the president from a mistaken policy.”
Pollak added, “It is very difficult, looking at her record during this period, to conclude that the presentation of her role in her book is accurate. There is a simple and likely explanation for this revisionist history: She knows that her prominent role in the past five years of acrimony between the Obama administration …read more