Clinton seeks Israeli media mogul's advice on boycotts

Hillary Clinton seeks advice from Israeli-American media proprietor Haim Saban on ways to fightback boycotts against Israel

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in a letter addressed to Israeli-American media proprietor Haim Saban, said that countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel should be “a priority,” and sought advice from the media mogul.

BDS, a global grassroots movement, aims to increase economic and political pressure on Israel over its failure to finalise peace talks with Palestine and for insisting on its expansionist policies on the Palestinian territories.

In the letter, former Secretary of State Clinton writes the BDS movement “seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict.”

“This is not the path to peace,” she added.

The Palestinian Authority has been seeking recognition as a sovereign state. However, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have consistently failed to reach their objectives due to the lack of commitment to the two-state solution which the ultra-orthodox members in the Israeli Knesset strongly oppose.

Clinton expressed her support for a two-state solution, but said a compromise can only be achieved  “through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” not through political and economic pressure on Israel.

Democratic presidential hopeful expressed her concern for anti-Semitism that is “on the rise across the world - especially in Europe” and vowed to stand up for Israel if she becomes president.

The Israeli government referred to the BDS as a movement with an anti-Semitic agenda, aiming to discredit and undermine Israel. However, BDS activists claim that the movement is aimed at Israel’s expansionist policy after years of fruitless negotiations, not Jews.

Although the former secretary of state so far did not actively involve her foreign policy agenda in her presidential campaign, her letter to Saban elaborates on negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran - a deal that is being followed closely by supporters of Israel.

Haim Saban, who is a top donor for Clinton’s campaign, hosted the presidential candidate at a Los Angeles fundraiser in May. Last month, Saban co-hosted a summit in Las Vegas for pro-Israel activists to discuss the impact of the BDS movement.

The aim of the nuclear deal is to finalise a deal which would terminate Iran’s disputed nuclear power programme, in return for lifting several international sanctions slapped on Iran.

At a campaign speech in Hanover, New Hampshire on Saturday, Clinton backed President Barack Obama’s stance on Iran deal, but said Iran was “the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism” and remains a problem even if the deal will be finalised.

Clinton, who believes the US should stand up for Israel, is also against the United Nations Human Rights Council’s recent resolution on July 3, under which the body condemned Israel’s conduct on Palestine in 2014.

Under the “Operation Protective Edge” campaign in 2014, Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip, killing 2,220 Palestinians, including at least 1,492 civilians, with the declared aim to “stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.”

By the end of the conflict, the Israeli death toll was five civilians and 67 soldiers.

A recent bill passed through Congress granted President Obama the authority to fast-track trade negotiations, including a provision that forcibly encourages the White House to highlight the negative impact of the BDS movement in its negotiations with the European Union.

TRTWorld and agencies