US Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton smeared and vilified the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in a letter to Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban.
The BDS movement seeks to pressure Israel to comply with international law and end its illegal occupation and oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people through peaceful economic measures. It was called for by Palestinian intellectuals and activists as a way by which human rights advocates around the world can express solidarity with and assist the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation and equality.
BDS has just three demands for Israel, all of which are mandated under international law:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
Given the rapidly burgeoning success of the movement throughout the world, the Israeli government and its allies, principally the US and Canada’s right-wing Harper government, have gone to great efforts to slander BDS as anti-Israel and even, in an egregious act of mudslinging dishonesty, “anti-Semitic”—in spite of the fact that the movement is led by Jews and non-Jews alike.
Throughout her two-page missive (embedded in full below) to Saban, a media mogul with a net worth of $3.5 billion, Clinton echoes common Israeli PR propaganda (hasbara) talking points. Her rhetoric is essentially indistinguishable from that of far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the letter, Hillary Clinton
- expresses “alarm” over the movement, which she describes as “a global effort to isolate the State of Israel”;
- smears BDS as an attempt “to isolate and delegitimize Israel” that “seeks to punish Israel”;
- says to Saban “I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority”;
- insists the explicitly peaceful movement is “not a path to peace”;
- asks the billionaire for advice on how to counter the nonviolent movement, “advice on how we can work together – across party lines and with a diverse array of voices”;
- claims Israel, the only country with nuclear weapons in the Middle East, “faces existential threats to its survival”;
- vilifies BDS as “the latest attempt to single out Israel on the world stage”;
- emphasizes “how crucial it is for America to defend Israel at every turn”;
- refers to UN resolutions calling on Israel to abide by international law and cease its illegal activity “anti-Israel resolutions”;
- boasts that she “made sure the United States blocked Palestinian attempts at the UN to unilaterally declare statehood”;
- “made it clear that America will always stand up for Israel,” assuring “and that’s what I’ll always to as President”;
- requested Saban’s “thoughts and recommendations on how leaders and communities across America can work together to counter BDS”;
- avers that BDS, which was called for by and is supported by the majority of Palestinians, is “harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike”; and
- characterizes Israel as “a modern day miracle – a vibrant bloom in the middle of a desert,” affirming her undying support for it.
According to Forbes, Saban is among the top 500 richest people in the world. He has long been a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with the Nakba-denying Israeli publication the Jerusalem Post, Saban characterized Clinton as the ideal US presidential candidate for Israel.
“Hillary will be great for Israel,” he said. “Hillary has been a steadfast defender of Israel’s interests. She will be a fantastic president for the US, an incredible world leader and one under whom the relationship with the US and Israel will be significantly reinforced.”
In April 2015, Saban told the same publication that he knows Clinton’s secret opinions on the US nuclear negotiations with Iran, hinting that she, like the Republican Party, opposes them.
Clinton even held a fundraiser dinner at the mansion of the fervent pro-Israel billionaire in Beverly Park, LA in May. Those who hoped to dine with the Democrat leader paid $2,700 per person just to get in. In her remarks to the wealthy guests, Clinton quipped that “it was nice of the royal family to name their baby” Princess Charlotte after her granddaughter.
In the meantime, while Clinton was entertaining her ultra-rich donors at a luxury dinner in the home of one of the 500 richest people on the planet with discussion of the British royal family, Variety magazine notes, “in Beverly Hills, some union and environmental groups staged rallies calling for Clinton to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership,” a secretive, neoliberal, anti-worker, anti-environment free trade agreement, often described as “NAFTA on steroids.”