NYSun: Clinton Reminds Voters Of Her Strong Commitment to Israel
Posted by jewsforhillary on September 17, 2007
Last Tuesday, prior to the start of the Jewish High Holiday season, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign circulated a paper articulating her support for Israel. Headlined “Hillary Clinton: A Long History of Strong and Steadfast Leadership for the U.S.-Israel Relationship,” the statement addressed Mrs. Clinton’s positions on Israel’s fight against terrorism, the threat of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, and Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital. “Hillary Clinton believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned,” the paper states.
The release of the policy paper on the eve of a contentious season harkens back to a high-profile statement Mrs. Clinton made on Jerusalem as she made her early strides to the Senate seat held by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1999. Back then, she penned a letter to Mandell Ganchrow, the president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, highlighting the importance of Jerusalem: “I personally consider Jerusalem the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel.”
When Mrs. Clinton sought her Senate seat, shoring up Jewish support was essential. Several months after her July 1999 missive on Jerusalem, she kissed Suha Arafat after the wife of the Palestinian Authority’s leader had accused Israel of using poison gas against its people. Over time, Mrs. Clinton’s advocacy for Israel on the campaign trail and in the Senate helped solidify her backing among this voting bloc.
“I’m comfortable with Hillary’s positions. I’m proud of Hillary’s positions. I believe she’s been successful over the years building a broad base of supporters. I think she’s appealing to progressive voters, centrist voters, and those for whom Israel and Israel’s national security is their single most important issue,” said Steve Grossman, a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a Clinton adviser on Middle East issues.
Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist, said Mrs. Clinton’s stance on Israel and Jerusalem made policy and political sense — despite potentially angering many in the liberal base of her party. “It is consistent with her positioning of the last several years. She is not a liberal on foreign policy matters,” Mr. Sheinkopf said.