by James M. Wall
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were among the invitees to the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting which this year happened to coincide with the start of Holy Week.
I do not know if candidate Clinton attended a worship service on Passion/Palm Sunday, the day before she gave her keynote address. If so, she might have heard a reading from the Gospel of Luke, which records that the authorities said to Jesus: “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
The authorities were complaining about the shouts of praise which greeted Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Stones cry out to deliver a message when others remain silent. Stones cry out with messages of last resort in the hope the words will penetrate the shields surrounding those who remain stubbonly oblivious to reality.
Candidate Bernie Sanders did not attend the AIPAC conference. He sent his Stone message to the AIPAC event, which he also delivered at a campaign event.
One sample: “to be successful, we have got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza unemployment today is 44 percent and we have there a poverty rate which is almost as high”.
Candidate Clinton did attend, delivering her customary anodyne praise, described by Juan Cole as the speech she always gives on Israel:
I once heard Hillary Clinton give her AIPAC speech at a university. It doesn’t change much, just as US policy toward the Mideast doesn’t change much. She was still a senator then. Much of the audience was Middle East experts, who could barely keep themselves from gagging.
Clinton used her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the gathering of some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, to lambaste Donald Trump for saying he’d try to be neutral in heading up negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Donald Trump should be lambasted. He is wrong on everything most of every day. But, like a clock, he is right twice a day and this a point on which he is correct. The US cannot be an honest broker in the Mideast conflict if it is more Israeli than the Israelis, which it typically is.
Clinton’s speech was also blasted by Palestinian supporters.
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, noted that Clinton’s speech “could well have been written by an Israeli government public relations firm.” He added that her speech “took pandering to a new level.”
A news clip highlights a moment where she criticizes her opponents:
In contrast to the Clinton embrace of all things Israeli, Bernie Sanders’ message to AIPAC sounds less like a lover and more like a friend admonishing a friend:
It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements in the West Bank is the appropriate response to the 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.
The Vermont Senator also told AIPAC it was time to end the economic blockade of Gaza. He identified a long-held Israeli practice of using water as a weapon against Palestinians and called for a “sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so that Israel and Palestine can both thrive as neighbors.”
Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence and terrorism. But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for the Palestinian people. Peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders.
In a news clip from CNN, Sanders offers specifics. https://youtu.be/QgxhzOyXnF0
The full Sanders text may be found here. Click to view the video of his speech:
The speeches run long, but surely, this is a time when attention should be paid.
The picture of Bernie Sanders at the top is a Win McNamee/Getty image.
Excellent review and analysis. You would think Clinton was running for elections in Israel. Sanders seems to be the only one who mentions self-determination for the Palestinians which is very meaningful for us Palestinians when and if we are ever given the opportunity to determine our future.
I had hopes that Trump would be America First, but he is still Israel First. Too bad. But the Democrats want to put up a candidate who is not only Israel First, but can escape indictment only through rank corruption in the FBI, or the DOJ, or the White House. The Democrats could put up a good candidate, but they refuse to do so. Still, I am gratified that Bernie has spoken out.
Thank you for bringing Senator Sanders comments to our attention. You opened a window and let light into the dark arena of the US media!
Thank you, Jim. You have it absolutely right.
I love your quotation from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus responds to the Authorities that, if He follows their orders and rebukes His Disciples into silence, then even the stones would cry out.
Bernie Sanders has been an honest witness, so far, while Hillary Clinton has been the dishonest Israel panderer of the highest order.
She actually endangers US security because her abhorrent servitude to Israel is founded on her support of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the enslavement of the Palestinian people. In doing so, she not only rejects any genuine peaceful solution, but also incites the Palestinian people to end their course of peaceful resistance and replace it with the violent British, or French, or American forms of resistance against Colonial occupation, or heroic fight against Nazi tyranny.
I am from the UK and I never thought I would hear a leading US politician say what Bernie Saunders said in public. Clinton is sadly predictable. It remains the task of civil societies around the world to campaign for an end to the occupation.
Well, I have been pushing for Bernie for a while. Have
seen him speak on the news but in recent days he took
it to a new higher level.
I am SO PROUD I voted for him. So many did not bc they
said he did not have a chance. Sad, those are the same people
that deprived him of a better chance.
Hilary is a dishonest pandering no conscious politician.
I have been on record on this site and others that I would
vote for Trump before I vote for Hilary.
As the author succinctly stated the clock is right twice a day and
Trump may possibly get it right. It seems like he made an
attempt but backed down under pressure. Ironically, on
other controversial issues he did not back down. Let us
hope Bernie burns the entire field. If not, I will vote for him
great reservation and reluctance. But HOPE!
I think you have captured many of the issues involved here. One obvious conclusion is that Bernie is the ONLY candidate who is willing to give the Palestinians a fair deal.
In contrast to Bernie’s caution in international affairs, Clinton has been an advocate for regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Maldives, Honduras, Guatemala, and Haiti. Yes, she has a lot of international experience. But Bernie has much more good judgment internationally.
I saw a photo of Bernie and the caption was something like: “All we need is the good judgment of one good Jew.” We do have to avoid the mistake Clinton makes of conflating Israel and Judaism.
Thank you, Jim, for hearing the stones cry out!
How can I share the following with all of the presidential candidates:
The link posted by Manuel Tarsha is both sad and sorrowful.
Many of my relatives and I have made the trip successfully.
The price is usually a 2 hour humiliating interrogation
after they make u wait an hour or two.
It seems the criteria for entering is to give them all the answers
they want even when invasive. Usually they want to know
about all ur relatives and who u r visiting with and who u
r staying with. And when u r getting the hell out. It better
One time I made the mistake of taking El Al straight to Tel
Aviv from Chicago. In this case the interrogation starts here
and can get nasty.
At one point their security people asked me for the alarm codes
to enter my businesses. I thought that was ridiculous that
I had to sacrifice business security codes. I refused to cough
those up. It took some intervention from higher Israeli and
American officials to finally wave that requirement. Almost
thought I would miss my plane.
Interrogation is so vicious before u get on an El-Al plane,
that when u get off the plane u just walk to ur taxi. No interrogation
or even stopping in the Israeli Ben Gurian Air Port.
It always feels like an accomplishment to be able to visit relatives
once every 5 years. I have always known resisting any question or
not cooperating would result in deportation.
When I used El-Al, which I regret, I was flying with 5 family members.
If they were not going to let me on, 5 others were not getting on.
I think El-Al did not want to have 6 empty seats while bearing the
cost and may have persuaded security to ease up on my secret pass codes
to enter my own businesses.
I feel for anyone who makes that long tiring trip and has to
spend 3-4 days in a cell to be deported back without a shower
or passport. Just terrible! It could happen to anyone if the
Shin Beth is having a bad day or wants to pick a fight!