At the recent meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the three remaining Republican presidential candidates and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton vied to outdo each other as the most supportive of Israel and its right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
AIPAC is the powerful lobby in the US for the Israeli government and its policies. It exerts great pressure on all members of Congress.
Clinton probably won that competition with what renowned independent journalist Glenn Greenwald called, the most “disgusting militaristic, hawkish pro-Israel speech that you could ever possibly hear, without the slightest pretence of concern for the people of Palestine”.
The leading Democratic presidential candidate emphasised the need for the US to keep building up the military of nuclear-armed Israel with billions of dollars and weapons so that it could dominate all other countries in the region. Clinton repeated the ridiculous narrative that poor little Israel is endangered by hostile neighbours.
In her speech, Clinton went out of her way to attack the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement opposing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its strangling of Gaza.
“Many of the young people here today,” Clinton said, “are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS … We must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.”
The “young people” in the audience are the rabid Zionists (supporters of an exclusively Jewish state in historic Palestine) on many campuses. They are seeking to outlaw growing student groups supporting the BDS movement, including Jewish Voice for Peace.
With her statement, Clinton also aligned herself with those who equate opposition to Israeli policies with anti-Semitism.
At the University of California, the state-appointed regents who run the university recently tried to pass a motion equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, outlawing BDS and Jewish Voice for Peace on all UC campuses. After an outcry, they watered this down to equating “some” anti-Zionists with anti-Semitism — still a false innuendo based on unfounded allegations that some anti-Semitic graffiti was the work of BDS groups.
In some states, laws have been introduced to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. This means asserting, among other falsities, that many anti-Zionist Jewish people — including Israeli citizens, figures like Noam Chomsky, Jewish Voice for Peace members, Jewish members of socialist groups and many others — are anti-Semitic. This fits in with the Zionist narrative that such Jews are “self-haters”, or worse.
Clinton's statement to AIPAC puts her firmly in support of this Zionist campaign. It also equates the Jewish people with the Israeli state, a false Zionist claim that Israel is the state of all Jews worldwide.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties — and all US administrations — have poured vast sums and armaments into Israel, backed Israel diplomatically, and support Israel's almost 50-year occupation of lands it conquered in the 1967 war (despite some noises to the contrary.) Clinton is endorsing these policies, but in an even more strident manner.
As Greenwald said, Clinton has made “a central part of her campaign embracing not just the right-wing Israeli government but Netanyahu himself”. The Clinton clan are personal friends of the Netanyahu family.
Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was the only candidate from either party to skip the AIPAC meeting. He explained that this was due to campaigning elsewhere, not AIPAC's policies.
However, he also said: “It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements [in the West Bank] is the appropriate response to most recent violence.
“It is also not acceptable that the Netanyahu government decided to withhold hundreds of millions of shekels in tax revenue from the Palestinians, which it is supposed to collect on their behalf.”
Even such mild criticism of Israel, which 20 years ago was US official policy, has disappeared from mainstream politics.
In a recent debate, Clinton attacked Sanders for comments he made after he visited Nicaragua in the 1980s during the Sandinista revolution. Sanders praised the pro-poor policies of the Sandinistas and some of the social gains of the Cuban Revolution, while criticising efforts of the US government to overthrow both revolutionary governments.
Sanders responded that he was opposed to both the war the US was backing against Nicaragua and hostile US policies toward Cuba.
With this charge against Sanders, Clinton was signalling to a section of the electorate that she endorses US-backed interventions against left-wing governments in Latin America. Such interventions included the Reagan administration's “contra” war against the Nicaraguan revolution and the US-organised terrorist and economic attacks against Cuba.
Before, during and after her time as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State during his first term, Clinton has been a loyal supporter of all the US wars, bombings, drone strikes and support of dictators. As Secretary of State, she did more than just support such actions — she actively participated in them.
It is enough to mention just one to get a sense of the blood on Clinton's hands. That was her role in the military coup in Honduras in 2009 which overthrew the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya.
Zelaya was opposed by the Obama administration because he allied his government with Venezuela and other left-wing governments in the region.
Like the US, the Honduran military and oligarchy also opposed Zelaya — fearing he would take measures that favoured the impoverished workers in Honduras.
Clinton made a trip to Honduras just weeks before the coup, which was likely organised with the help of the US military from its bases in the country. The coup was too well organised to have been carried out by the Honduran military alone.
A cable from the US Embassy to Clinton published by WikiLeaks showed that Clinton knew of the coup immediately. She initially backed the military's claim that Zelaya “fled in the middle of the night to avoid justice for his crimes”.
It emerged that the military had actually kidnapped him and taken him to the US base called SOUTHCOM Joint Task Force-Bravo for orders on what to do with him. The elected president was then sent into exile.
The coup was condemned by the Organisation of American States and the United Nations, both of which called for the immediate restoration of Zelaya as president. This demand was ignored by the Obama administration.
Clinton became the point person for the administration. She wrote in her book Hard Choices that she had orchestrated the holding in Honduras of what she called, “free and fair elections … which would render the question of Zelaya moot”.
These were “free and fair elections” organised by a military dictatorship established by a violent coup. The aim was to give a democratic fig leaf to cover the coup.
It was not much cover and no one was fooled. The administration continued to illegally provide military and financial aid to the military government, in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act.
The result is the horror that is Honduras today — the murder capital of the world. Organisers of workers, peasants, indigenous people, Blacks, women, LGBTI people, priests and intellectuals are murdered, tortured and disappeared with impunity.
A 2012 New York Times op-ed by Dana Frank called Honduras “a mess made in the U.S.” Frank said that since the coup, “the country is descending deeper into a human rights and security abyss”.
Clinton continues to praise Honduras as a shining example of democracy, and blames any problems on drug traffickers. However, under the dictatorship, in addition to the repression and butchery, the military has been involved financially in turning Honduras into a narco-state. Gang terror has become so bad it has forced many young people to make the arduous and dangerous trip to try to seek asylum in the US.
From backing Israeli apartheid to the Honduras coup, and much else, the Obama administration and its point person, Hillary Clinton, leave us with a legacy of imperialist exploitation inflicting great misery.