Clinton Campaign Manager: Keep Democrats Happy, Avoid Mentioning Israel

Screenshot / CNN

TEL AVIV – Hillary Clinton was advised to avoid mentioning Israel during election speeches and only make mention of the country when “she’s with donors,” the latest WikiLeaks email dump revealed.  

Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said Clinton “shouldn’t have Israel at public events,” while Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser, disagreed, advising Clinton that her central message should include “a sentence on standing up for our allies and our values, including Israel and other fellow democracies, and confronting terrorists and dictators with strength and cunning.”

In the May 2017 discussion, Mandy Grunwald, Clinton’s senior communications adviser, responded to Sullivan: “I though(t) this was largely for her TP (talking points) with public events not fundraisers. Do we need Israel etc for that?”

Sullivan replied: “We def(initely) need the etc. I think good to have Israel too.”

Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Beneson then asked if there was any sense in mentioning Israel: “Why would we call out Israel in public events now? The only voters elevating FP (foreign policy) at all are Republican primary voters. To me we deal with this in stride when and if we are asked about FP.”

Sullivan responded by reminding the team that “She was Secretary of State.”

Campaign manager Mook disagreed: “I’m w(ith) Joel. We shouldn’t have Israel at public events. Especially dem (Democratic) activists.”

Sullivan acquiesced, writing: “I won’t fall on sword over Israel but we need more than climate in that paragraph.”

Clinton’s director of speechwriting Dan Schwerin suggested the following:

What about this as a base, and then she can drop in Israel when she’s with donors: Fourth and finally, we have to protect our country from the global threats that we see, from terrorists to dictators to diseases – and the ones that are still over the horizon. We have to assert confident American leadership to shape global events rather than be shaped by them. That includes taking on global warming and those who continue to deny that it exists. And it means always standing up for our allies and our values, especially our fellow democracies.

In another email exchange, Clinton’s team discussed a draft of her speech at the Jewish Federation of Des Moines in January. The team considered whether to infer that Bernie Sanders’ position on Iran may put Israel in danger.

Speechwriter Schwerin asked the campaign team to “let me know if we should add a Bernie hit on Iran in here. Right now it’s pretty straight.”

Sarah Bard, Clinton’s Jewish Outreach director said she thought it was best to “not name him specifically. Reference ideology, without using the exact language Bernie used, and making it very clear what she’s referencing. Something like, ‘those who suggest that we looks past human rights violations, blatant disregard of international law and … by the leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, are dangerously naive or who largely uninformed about how the world works.'”

Foreign policy adviser Sullivan warned that it was best not to use the words “naive or uninformed” and ultimately suggested that “I would lay off.”

In another instance in which Clinton was advised not to sound “naïve,” was in her November 2015 column on the two-state solution in the Forward.

Stuart Eizenstat, a former US diplomat and close associate of the Clintons, wrote:

“Attached are my edits to an excellent draft. We must be careful on not seeming naïve on the two-state solution. She must support it, but suggest initial confidence building steps now, which is all that can be expected, to set a stage for broader negotiations.”


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