Final Batch of Clinton Emails Reveals Hillary’s Hummus Preference

Also discovered: Supposedly non-partisan Jewish leader fundraises for GOP and Netanyahu apparently disparaged Clinton behind her back at AIPAC conference.

Allison Kaplan Sommer
Allison Kaplan Sommer
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Hillary Clinton and Sabra hummus.
Hillary Clinton and Sabra hummus.Credit: Reuters, Ilya Seymor
Allison Kaplan Sommer
Allison Kaplan Sommer

Hillary Clinton loves Sabra hummus.

The unexpected product endorsement - a windfall celebrity thumbs-up for the powerful hummus brand - is just one of the Israel-related references in the latest, and last, dump of thousands of emails from the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s private server during the time she was secretary of state. The final release took place on the eve of Super Tuesday, the primaries considered key to determining the parties' presidential nominees.

Clinton made the hummus revelation in response to a chatty and affectionate missive from a friend named Betsy Ebeling on May 20, 2011, carrying the subject line “You are what you eat, I guess.”

Ebeling was updating Clinton about an article from the Chicago Sun-Times on a referendum being pushed by Students for Justice in Palestine at DePaul University. The group acted to ban Sabra hummus from campus because the Strauss Group, which manufactures the hummus in the United States, “sends financial support to two Israeli military units accused of human rights abuses.”

Sabra hummus, originally a U.S. brand, was acquired by Strauss in 2005, which teamed up with the multinational giant PepsiCo in 2008, and today dominates the U.S. hummus market.

Clinton responded to Ebeling, “I love Sabra hummus - whatever that means!”

In her reply, Ebeling suggested she share the news with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (referring, presumably, to the newspaper article about DePaul, not the hummus endorsement).

“There's a full moon,” Ebeling wrote. “You might show this to Netanyahu today... The world is having a nervous breakdown. Love you, B.” 

Portions of both Ebeling’s message and Clinton’s answer, which clearly refers to Netanyahu, were redacted before release by the U.S. State Department, presumably for security reasons. Then Clinton concludes, “But, even the allure of Mother Moon in all her glory is unlikely to impress the PM.”

It was not the first time a Clinton email dump involved Israel and food. Previous email releases included discussion of a U.S.-Israeli diplomatic snag involving gefilte fish.  An even more common theme in the Clinton email releases is advice and observations on Israel from her long-time adviser Sidney Blumenthal. This final batch of correspondence was no exception.

In an email from Blumenthal, dated March 28, 2010, and redacted, with some of the names and information deemed classified, contains hearsay passed on to Blumenthal from a friend regarding the way Netanyahu privately spoke about Clinton at an event.

Blumenthal’s friend knew someone who had heard the Israeli prime minister discuss the secretary of state at dinner at the annual AIPAC conference. The sender said they were “genuinely shocked by the relentless disparagement of you by Netanyahu to those at the head table.” The unnamed author passed on a quote of Netanyahu saying that, “If we can’t sleep, Hillary isn’t going to sleep.” He also encouraged his tablemates to “pressure the administration to take out iran nuclear (sic).”

Blumenthal’s friend’s friend said the AIPAC conference “reminded him of a party rally” and that “he found the whole thing very disturbing.”

Finally, the final batch of mail also included an offbeat attachment: Supposedly a copy of a note that Obama's National Security Adviser Tom Donilon placed in Jerusalem's Western Wall on a trip to Israel in 2012, the Associated Press reported.

The note goes far above Netanyahu’s head. It is addressed to "hashem," a Hebrew word for god, bears a "Top Secret" stamp and pokes fun at then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Clinton's top Asia aide, Kurt Campbell.

Officials clarified to the AP that both the email and attachment were, in fact, a joke sent to Clinton by an aide.

“This document is not a real note,” a State Department official said. "It is a joke written by Secretary Clinton's communications adviser, Philippe Reines, and was attached to an email chain discussing senior officials' travel to Israel in July 2012." 

In a previous version of this story, a Clinton Email that was released on August 2015 was accidentally included and has been removed.

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