Seeking Jewish support for her US presidential bid and while unclear regarding her position on Iran, Hillary Clinton hints that she would be a better friend to Israel than Obama.
Hillary Clinton is privately signaling to wealthy Jewish donors that — no matter the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations — she would be a better friend to Israel than US President Barack Obama, Politico reports.
Donors are reportedly pushing Clinton on the subject in private, but they have emerged with sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal, according to interviews Politico conducted with more than 10 influential donors and fundraising operatives.
Politico believes she tailors her answers to meet the preferences of the person with whom she is speaking, telling them what they want to hear.
Publicly, she has expressed support for the negotiating process, which she secretly initiated during her time as secretary of state, although she has also said that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Clinton’s campaign rejected any suggestion that she was trying to have it both ways on Iran.
“Her support for the negotiating process and touting support for Israel are not contradictory,” said Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill. “A strong deal is good for Israel in her view.”
Clinton recently told another pro-deal donor that she was “very supportive of the negotiating process,” the donor recalled, while another donor said she boasted of her role in starting the talks. “So it seemed like she was supporting it,” recalled the funder.
At a Manhattan fundraiser last week featuring a largely Jewish group of donors, Clinton defended Obama against charges that he had weakened the US-Israel relationship, asserting that such criticism stemmed from a “perception” problem, according to a donor who was present. But she also suggested that if she were elected president, she could correct that problem and bring the two nations closer.
“Diplomacy is all about personal relationships, and I’ve got my own relationships,” she said, referencing her two-decade association with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ardent opponent of the Iran deal, and, occasionally, of Obama.
At a fundraiser last month at the Long Island home of Democratic donor Jay Jacobs, Clinton was asked by an Orthodox rabbi about threats to Israel’s security. “She did stress in no uncertain terms her full and fervent support of the State of Israel and the defense of the State of Israel,” recalled Jacobs. “And the people in the audience who heard it seemed to be comfortable with her answer.”
Likewise, donors at a different New York fundraiser seemed to fully accept her answer to a slightly different question about US interest in the deal, said billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry, a leading Clinton donor. “She said ‘I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the US,’ and that was the end of it,” Lasry told Politico.
Clinton’s senior foreign policy advisers have also briefed interested wealthy donors on both the negotiations over the deal and its prospects for congressional approval, according to one donor who recently talked to a top Clinton aide.
“It’s a tricky issue for her,” said the donor who was briefed, arguing that Jewish donors who oppose a deal and favor military intervention in Iran “are going to put her in a box.”
For the detailed report at Politico click here.
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