The Washington Post
November 23, 2008
There is possibly no person President-elect Barack Obama considered for secretary of state who is more reliably pro-Israel than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the woman to whom he appears likely to give the job sometime after Thanksgiving.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
During the Democratic primary campaign, Clinton said the United States could “obliterate” Iran if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel. She said the United States should not negotiate with Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, unless it renounced terrorism. “The United States stands with Israel, now and forever,” Clinton told AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, at its conference in June.
Yet Clinton is also the former first lady who famously broke with her husband’s administration in 1998 and said Palestinians should have a state of their own. Ten years later, the comment seems unexceptional, but at the time it prompted the White House to make clear she was speaking only for herself.
Clinton’s foreign policy views will be scrutinized closely in the weeks ahead, but as her past statements on the Middle East illustrate, she has a considerable track record that provides evidence for several plausible explanations of how she might try to focus U.S. diplomacy.
Arabs, particularly Palestinians, are nervous that Obama seems prepared to give the job of top diplomat to a senator from New York who has spent eight years cultivating her pro-Israel constituency and would continue, they think, a lack of U.S. evenhandedness in refereeing the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Because of what they regard as her bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and her initial support for the Iraq war, some see her selection as a sign that Obama intends to conduct a more hawkish foreign policy than he suggested during the campaign.