U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke for a half hour or so at the annual Saban Forum, held this past weekend in Washington D.C. New Yorker editor David Remnick, who attended the forum, cuts to the chase:
Hillary Clinton is running for President.
Remnick says a lot more than just that in a piece he had posted Sunday at the New Yorker web site. He is not pleased with what he saw at the forum:
Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.
Remnick was clearly upset by what he saw. He’s a very good writer when inspired or angered. Here is his description of a laudatory film on HRC, presented to forum attendees:
Hillary Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, secretary of state. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”
The film was like an international endorsement four years in advance of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The tone was so reverential that it resembled the sort of film that the Central Committee of the Communist Party might have produced for Leonid Brezhnev’s retirement party if Leonid Brezhnev would only have retired and the Soviets had been in possession of advanced video technology. After it was over there was a separate video from the President. Looking straight into the camera, Obama kvelled at length: “You’ve been at my side at some of the most important moments of my Administration.” [emphases added]
Remnick was a bit disturbed by the closeness of National Public Radio‘s Robert Siegel to Israeli Foreign Minister and avowed ethnic cleanser-racist, Avigdor Lieberman:
[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu was not at the Saban Forum, but his notorious foreign minister and hard-right-wing coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman was. Lieberman, who has a history of making vicious remarks about Israeli Arabs and a range of other subjects, is rarely made available for interviews with the foreign press; the chance of embarrassment and international incident is too high. But here he was, in D.C., as Clinton’s pre-dinner opening act. Lieberman, who was born in the U.S.S.R. and lives on a settlement, was interviewed onstage by NPR’s Robert Siegel.
“Everyone wanted me to be politically correct,” Lieberman said as he settled into a chair onstage. “I’ll do my best.”
And so he did. Lieberman avoided any language that would fly into the headlines as racist or xenophobic. A keen and intelligent interviewer, Siegel seemed uncharacteristically reluctant to press Lieberman very hard or bring up Lieberman’s history of indelicacies where Arabs are concerned. [emphases added]
Here’s the paean:
And here is her subsequent speech:
Philip Weiss, writing today at Mondoweiss, concentrated on parts of Clinton’s address:
At a time when Britain and France are considering withdrawing ambassadors from Israel over its latest settlement plans, Hillary Clinton addressed the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution Friday night and, declaring “America and Israel are in it together,” said nothing about settlements or occupation except when she three times praised Benjamin Netanyahu for a “settlement freeze.”
Weiss goes on:
She faults the Arab spring and praises rightwing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
She blames the Iranians for a skein of terror and “hegemonic” ambitions.
She blames Palestinians for the Gaza conflict.
…. her only references to settlements, [are] all praising Netanyahu and damning the Palestinians.The usual demographic chatter, supporting Israeli discrimination against Palestinians:
“And without peace, the inexorable math of demographics will, one day, force Israelis to choose between preserving their democracy and remaining a Jewish homeland.”
Not once but twice:
“if you look at demography, you see the population shifts and the problems that that will cause for Israel.”
More from Weiss:
She speaks about Israeli settlements as if they are part of Israel:“[I] walked along the fence near Gilo.”She never uses the words occupy or occupation except in a favorable context:“It gives Israel a moral high ground that I want Israel to occupy. That’s what I want Israel to occupy, the moral high ground.”
I commented at the Mondoweiss article, responding on whether HRC is running or not:
“Clinton won’t have much of a chance in 2016. She’s too old”
— Driving into town to go to a concert Saturday, the four of us talked about Clinton’s 2016 chances. That’s pretty much what I said too. I added that people are getting tired of the Clintons, even though Bill’s 2012 Democratic Party Convention speech showed he’s still got a spark or three of demonic life left.
The questions went on to “who will be the most likely 2016 Democratic Party prez contenders, then?” I suggested Rahm Emanuel, as he’s got the best operating money machine, even better than that of the Clintons.
The flag, morphing the American and Israeli flags into one banner, creeps me out. How about you?
At the same time Clinton and a host of others at the forum were further Israelifying the USA, here’s what was happening in the sane world:
According to three senior diplomats from various EU countries, Britain and France were coordinating their moves against Israel, which they will reportedly implement over the next few days, and have discussed the extraordinary step of recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for consultations. This step has never been taken before by these countries toward Israel. It would be so extreme that Britain and France may not take such action at this point but, rather, could invoke it in the case of further escalation of Israeli actions against the Palestinians. A final decision in the matter will be made today by the British and the French foreign ministers. [emphasis added]
I want my country back.