Thursday, July 28, 2016

Clinton emails show visceral hatred for Michael Oren

I've been arguing on social media for the last few days that we ought to be focusing on the contents of both Hillary Clinton's and the Democratic National Committee's emails, and not on how they came to light. At the end of the day, what's in the emails is far more important than Donald Trump trolling the Russians to release them (and he may well be correct that the Russians already have them).

In that light, I'd like to discuss some of what's come to light about Hillary Clinton's relationship with Israel as Secretary of State, and particularly about her relationship with Michael Oren, who was the Israeli ambassador to the United States during her tenure at the State Department.

In his book, Ally, Oren writes that during his first six months in Washington, he could not get a meeting with Clinton. It's perhaps indicative of that relationship that when I tried Googling "Clinton Oren" and "Hillary Clinton Michael Oren" in Google Images, the picture above was the only one I found that had the two of them in it together. There were several pictures of Oren with Barack Obama and of Prime Minister Netanyahu with Clinton, but only one of Oren and Clinton together.

This was not Oren's imagination, as Haaretz reported about a year ago from an earlier release of Clinton emails:
On December 10, 2009, about six months after Oren took up his position in Washington, Brian Greenspun sent an email to the private account of then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to check why her staff was not allowing the Israeli ambassador to meet her. It’s isn’t clear whether Oren was the one who asked Greenspun to intervene.

Greenspun is publisher of the Las Vegas Sun and was Bill Clinton’s old college roommate. He even raised money for him in Nevada when Clinton was president. According to various reports, in January 2001, a few weeks before the end of the president’s term, Greenspun also asked Clinton to grant a pardon to the founder of Israel Aerospace Industries, Al Schwimmer, for his role in smuggling U.S. planes to Israel in 1950.

“Hi Hillary,” writes Greenspun in the short message, parts of which were redacted before it was released for publication. Greenspun writes that rumor has it that the Israeli ambassador was unsuccessfully trying to arrange a meeting with the secretary of state. 
He says he can’t imagine why her staff would keep Oren away from her and offered his help if there was any problem.
Why did Hillary keep Oren away? Rabbi Shmuely Boteach connects it to Oren's refusal to speak at the first J Street conference in 2009.
Furthermore, a flurry of email communications from July 2012 surrounded Hannah Rosenthal, who served from 2009 to 2012 as special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism for the Obama administration. After three years in this position, news broke that Rosenthal had accepted a position as president of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. However, she faced harsh criticism from sectors of the Jewish community for her past views toward Israel. The exchange in these released emails from Hilary’s server showed that the administration was very concerned about this opposition and planned on how best to counteract it, with long-time aide Huma Abedin keeping Clinton apprised.

Rosenthal had previously served on the board of directors of the anti-Israel J Street. She was also on the board of directors of Americans for Peace Now – an organization that advocates for a total BDS-style boycott of Judea and Samaria and its settlements. Yes, this was the person hand-picked by the White House with Clinton’s blessing to fight anti-Semitism.

The protests of Rosenthal’s appointment to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation post stemmed in part from her associations with these anti-Israel groups.

We know that Rosenthal has been a major supporter of Hillary Clinton for the past 20 years and was appointed and served under the Bill Clinton administration in a top-level position in the Department of Health and Human Services.

In a speech of July 13, 2010, Hillary Clinton praised Rosenthal’s appointment to combat anti-Semitism, saying, “I have known Hannah for more than 20 years and we have worked over those 20 years on issues that are near and dear to both of us.” She went on to say, “We know we have a big challenge ahead of us, but I was thrilled when Hannah agreed to take this position...”

Yet just a few months earlier, Rosenthal’s first denunciation in her new role was not against anti-Semitism but shockingly against ambassador Michael Oren.

Oren had recently turned down the offer to be the keynote speaker at J Street’s inaugural conference in December 2009, saying that the policies and approaches of J Street toward Israel were “fooling around with the lives of 7 million people.”

Rosenthal, no doubt offended at the refusal, broke protocol in an uncharacteristic attack on Oren, condemning his comments, and calling his approach to J Street “most unfortunate,” saying that he “would have learned a lot” if he had attended the conference.

Supporting J Street, boycotting Judea and Samaria, and condemning Michael Oren. Was this the basis of Hillary’s support for Rosenthal? Rosenthal faced criticism from a number of Jewish groups for her words. Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, summed up the unusual and inappropriate nature of Rosenthal’s comments. “As an official of the United States government, it is inappropriate for the anti-Semitism envoy to be expressing her personal views on the positions ambassador Oren has taken, as well as on the subject of who needs to be heard from in the Jewish community.”

The Israeli government released a statement that said in part, “We received Ms. Rosenthal’s statements as reported in Haaretz with astonishment and surprise.”

The Obama administration tried to reassure Israel that these comments did not represent State Department policy.

Unfortunately, the truth is that based on everything we have seen in these email dumps, this is precisely what the State Department’s policy was.
Drawing on Clinton's emails, Boteach describes some of the paranoia in the State Department's treatment of Oren.
In one email, [Sidney] Blumenthal sent an article from the notoriously anti-Israel website Mondoweiss, which has long trolled me on the Internet, and which duplicitously implied with empty insinuations that Oren had planted a false story about a joint US-Israel Iran strike in a plot to manipulate US policy.

On another occasion, Blumenthal sent two articles written by his anti-Semitic son, the notorious Israel-hater Max Blumenthal, which implied Oren was conspiring with Benjamin Netanyahu to derail the peace process.

Sidney Blumenthal derisively emailed Hillary about Oren’s untrustworthiness writing, “[T]he New Republic is a preferred outlet for the highest level Likud/neocon propaganda. Michael Oren, a channel for Israeli intel, was a frequent contributor in the past.”

He also sent an email describing rumors from his journalist son Paul, who claimed to have heard that “Oren raced around the West Wing searching for Barack [Obama], opening doors and looking in rooms.

[Then-US national security adviser Thomas] Donilon heard about Oren’s frantic snooping and raced after him, catching him, and escorted him out. Apocryphal? True?” Hillary responds to the email, “Doubt that it happened, but, these days, who knows???”
In another article several months ago, Boteach went further.
In the entire forced dump of her emails, you will be hard-pressed to find a single note that is sympathetic toward the Jewish state from any of the people she trusted. The negative, poisonous approach Ms. Clinton established demonstrates that a huge segment of her close advisers and confidants were attacking Israel, condemning Prime Minister Netanyahu, and strategizing how to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria at all costs.
This was occurring in the backdrop of Israel’s recent Gaza withdrawal, which led to the takeover of the Strip by Hamas. There is almost zero mention of the huge risks to Israel’s security in withdrawing, as Ms. Clinton and the Obama Administration did everything they could to pressure Israel to capitulate to their demands.
Read some of the emails cited by Boteach in that article. Appalling. 

One doesn't need much imagination to conclude that a Clinton administration's relationship with Israel would be no better than the Obama administration's relationship with Israel over the last eight years, especially so long as Binyamin Netanyahu is Prime Minister.

That's one lesson we should all be learning from the Clinton emails.

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