Tuesday saw Hillary Clinton continue her track toward wrapping up the Democratic nomination for president. The primaries also put Donald Trump even closer to the Republican nomination.
The differences between the two candidates could not be more stark: one candidate has a long history of public service and a deep understanding of foreign policy; the other operates as a dangerous belligerent bully who believes only in threats and intimidation, not diplomacy, and has no experience on the world stage.
I am a lifelong supporter of Israel and the absolute bond that binds our countries together. This is not a matter of politics or partisanship to me; I would never support a candidate for president, Democrat or Republican, unless I knew that person truly understands Israel’s security issues and existential threats, as well as all of the complicated dynamics in play in the Middle East. Having served as a vice chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, which allowed me to meet with elected officials, diplomats, as well as military and intelligence officials, in both of our governments, I understand the risks and complexities that Israel faces and am confident that Hillary Clinton’s experience as a U.S. senator and secretary of state gives her an unprecedented depth of understanding that will serve our country — and Israel — well in a dangerous world.
America needs a strong and steady hand in the White House from day one. The presidency is not a job for a trial run by someone who preys on people’s deepest fears, whipping them into a frenzy of bigotry.
Can anyone trust someone who on one day professes to be “neutral” on Israel-Palestinian negotiations, and the next day has a different controversial message. When asked to name his foreign advisers, Trump responded: “my primary consultant is myself.” If Israel’s security and permanent place in the Middle East weren’t at stake, some people might find his answer amusing. But it’s not. The United States’ backing of Israel is not something to be toyed with. The ease with which Trump changes his tune portrays his lack of understanding of both Middle East politics and of Israel’s standing as one of the strongest allies of the United States.
Unlike Trump, whose loyalty to Israel is untested and who hasn’t been involved in Mideast talks, Secretary Clinton knows the players, has been steadfast in her support for Israel, and recognizes that the “same forces that threaten Israel, threaten the United States.”
In a major foreign policy address in September, she vowed to “deepen America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, including our longstanding tradition of guaranteeing Israel’s qualitative military edge,” boost support for Israel’s missiles and rocket defense system, increase intelligence sharing and work with Israel to develop better tunnel detection technology to prevent arms smuggling. Unlike those offered by Trump, there is no pandering in these statements. Clinton’s positions are unequivocal, and her actions as a Senator and as our nation’s foreign policy leader prove that this isn’t simply campaign rhetoric.
Secretary Clinton’s record is strong. As a senator, she introduced and co-sponsored various bills to isolate and weaken terrorist groups and their state sponsors. As secretary of state, she pushed for upgraded Patriot missiles and the Iron Dome system, and helped equip Israel with the F-35 Join Strike Fighter.
And Secretary Clinton saved lives. When rockets rained down on Israel in 2012, Clinton led the negotiations that led to a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
Clinton has strongly condemned the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the U.S. and around the world, accurately calling it an attempt to “isolate and delegitimize Israel” and “counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians.” I have yet to hear Trump do the same.
As a senator, Clinton wrote and co-sponsored bills that isolated terror groups, pushed to crack down on incitement in Palestinian textbooks and schools, and called for an end to “the propaganda to which Palestinian children are being exposed. That must be a priority for all people who care about children, who care about the kind of peace, stability, safety and security that Israel deserves to be guaranteed.” She spoke out against incitement on numerous other occasions, including in a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to make funding to the Palestinians contingent on an end to such rhetoric.
While Clinton has fought for bills to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, Trump has veered into anti-Semitic tropes and accepts support from established groups and individuals known for anti-Semitic and racist views.
Clinton also successfully campaigned for Magen David Adom’s inclusion in the International Red Cross, sponsoring a Senate resolution on the matter. As secretary of state, she stood up for Israel on the world stage, successfully pushing for U.S. vetoes of lopsided resolutions against Israel, working to block U.N. Security Council resolutions for Palestinian statehood and calling out the U.N. Human Rights Council for its “structural bias against Israel.”
In her book, Hard Choices, Clinton speaks of meeting with victims of terrorism and families who knew a rocket could fall on their homes at any moment. “I’ve held their hands in hospital rooms and listened to doctors describe how much shrapnel was left in a leg, arm, or head,” she wrote. “These experiences will always be with me.”
I believe that those experiences, coupled with Hillary Clinton’s actions as senator and as secretary of state, make her the best candidate for president of the United States and ensure that the bonds between our two nations remain unshakeable.