Clinton: 'Russian Jews and 'settlers' are obstacles to Middle East 'peace'When the Obama administration brought Hillary Clinton on board as Secretary of State, it meant that we could get up to four more years of Bill Clinton's wit and wisdom. Until now, at least, Slick Willy stayed out of the Middle East - where the 'Palestinians' snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for him ten years ago. But on Tuesday, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Clinton let it fly on the Middle East. It's clear from what Clinton said that this time the orders are to blame Israel for the 'peace process' inevitable failure.
In a bizarre conversation with reporters (which unfortunately does not appear to be on video), Clinton 'rated' Israelis on a scale from most to least in favor of the creation of a 'Palestinian state.' In Clinton's world, it is now the Russian Jewish immigrants and the 'settlers' (who are often depicted in the American media as all haling from Brooklyn) as being the 'obstacles to peace.'
"An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem," Clinton said. "It's a different Israel. 16 percent of Israelis speak Russian."There are not enough Russian immigrants or 'settlers' to explain to Clinton that nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews voted for parties on the Right of the political spectrum (67 out of 110 Knesset seats held by Jewish parties if you back out the ten seats that went to Arab parties, and then back out the 28, 12 and 3 Knesset seats that went to Kadima, Labor and Meretz, respectively in the last election).
According to Clinton, the Russian immigrant population in Israel is the group least interested in striking a peace deal with the Palestinians. "They've just got there, it's their country, they've made a commitment to the future there," Clinton said. "They can't imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it."
To illustrate his view on the Russian immigrant community, Clinton related a conversation he had with Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident turned Israeli parliamentarian, who he said was the only Israeli minister to reject the comprehensive peace agreement Clinton proposed at the Camp David Summit in 2000. The proposal was eventually rejected by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
"I said, ‘Natan, what is the deal [about not supporting the peace deal],'" Clinton recalled. "He said, ‘I can't vote for this, I'm Russian... I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you.'"
Clinton responded, "Don't give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It's a lot bigger than your jail cell."
Clinton used the anecdote to explain the Russian immigrant population's attitude toward a land-for- peace deal with the Palestinians. "[Sharansky] was nice about it, a lot of them aren't," Clinton said.
Clinton then ranked the Israeli sub-national groups in order of his perception of their willingness to accept a peace deal. The "most pro-peace Jewish Israelis" are the Sabras, who he described as native-born Israelis whose roots there date back millennia, because they have the benefit of historical context. "They can imagine sharing a future."
Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated from Europe and have been in Israel for one or more generations are the next most supportive of a peace deal, Clinton said.
The "swing voters" are what Clinton called the "Moroccans": North African Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He described them as right-of-center citizens who nevertheless want normal, stable lives.
"When they think peace is possible, they vote peace. When they think it's not, they vote for the toughest guys on the block," Clinton said.
Regarding the settlers, Clinton said that their numbers had grown so much since 2000 that their longstanding opposition to giving up their homes in exchange for peace might be more entrenched and therefore a bigger challenge than before.
"In 2000, you could get 97 percent of the settlers on 3 percent of the land. Today, you have to give almost 6 percent of the land to get 80 percent of the settlers," said Clinton. "There were 7,000 settlers in Gaza and it took 55,000 Israeli forces people to move. Somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 settlers will have to be moved out of the West Bank."
Israel has changed in the last ten years. But the Russian immigrants were already here ten years ago. And the increase in the number of 'settlers' (we prefer to call them revenants) is the result of high birth rate and virtually no emigration. But it's not just the Russian immigrants and the revenants who oppose the notion of establishing a 'Palestinian state.'
Thanks to Clinton and Ehud Barak most of us finally understand that our conflict with the 'Palestinians' is existential and not just about borders. Unfortunately, that lesson cost us more than 1,000 people who are no longer with us.
Read the whole thing. By the way, as I've noted many times before, most of us don't buy Clinton's fatalistic notion that Jews will be a minority here in 30 years either.
UPDATE 11:15 AM
Found the embed code. I don't have time to watch this right now, but you can all go ahead and watch.
Let's go to the videotape.