From every perspective it is appropriate to hope that Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election. It is important for America and the free and democratic world it pretends to lead. But in the same breath, the time has come to grow up and understand that nothing new or important will happen for Israel as a result.
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What was is what will be, or as the Americans would put it: More of the same. Not because of prospective president Clinton and not even because of eternal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; but because of billionaire Haim Saban. The prophet of the Power Rangers is the true prime minister. Not of Israel, of the worldwide Jewish state.
Saban is considered a central donor to the Clintons over the past 25 years. The one with the money, and it turns out too, the one they listen to. According to the latest revelations of WikiLeaks, his emails from the last year made it quite clear as to his position on the line he thought Clinton must take: “to differentiate herself from Obama on Israel,” harsh criticism of anything he sees as a shred of anti-Semitism, fierce opposition to a boycott, and uncompromising commitment to Israel’s security. In other words, Netanyahu’s positions – or at least an approach his government can live with quite comfortably.
So why does Lord Saban think these are the main principles of necessary policy? Not because of the interests of Israelis, or a geo-strategic viewpoint of the future of the Middle East, or even just a concrete world view of the Jewish-Arab conflict; but “so that she can recapture the 11% lost between 2012 and 1992.” Saban is referring to the 11% of Jewish support that abandoned the Democratic Party between Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 and Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012.
He even has an analysis of electoral segmentation, based on where American Jewry is concentrated, according to the Electoral College and the dependence on the traditional swing states: “This is NOT a [New York] or California issue, it is a Florida one.”
The cat is out of the bag. Clinton’s foreign policy toward Israel needs to be derived from the electoral distribution of Florida’s Jews. Saban sets the course, and Clinton carries it out. Just months after receiving the emails from Saban, Clinton published an article in “The Forward” expressing her uncompromising support for Israel, opposition to any outside intervention in the conflict and promised to invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in her first month in office.
Interesting. One of her legendary predecessors as secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, once said: “Israel has no foreign policy; it has only a domestic policy.” Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig has been attributed with this description of Israel: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.”
According to the Saban-Clinton axis (that is the correct order), the American administration has only a domestic policy, too. While Israel, it turns out once again, is not just a giant aircraft carrier, but also a playground for American politicians and their generous patrons. Saban and Clinton have not invented anything new, of course, but it is essential to take a look at their contribution. After all, the shrinking peace camp in Israel frequently points an accusing finger, justifiably, at the Sheldon Adelson-Netanyahu axis. It would only be fair to recognize its mirror image inside the Democratic Party, too.
It is interesting to note that in the additional recent WikiLeaks, another frantic exchange of emails was exposed: Correspondence in which Netanyahu’s subordinates push Clinton to focus less on the Palestinian issue, and even express concern that a Clinton Administration “will be a Saban Forum for four years.” So it seems they have nothing really to worry about, not Saban nor his forum. But more important and more depressing is this additional, small evidence of the great American reality: The fate and future of the Israelis are closed in deals negotiated above their heads and under the table.