America’s First female President?

Will Hillary Clinton be the next President of the United States? I think there is a very good chance of that. But it is not a certainty by a long shot. To no one’s surprise she announced her candidacy a few days ago. Here are my quick thoughts on the matter.

One must look at the candidate as a whole when making up one’s mind one who to vote for. One issue candidates never really fare that well anyway. So who is Hillary Clinton?

The truth is that I don’t think people really know – despite the fact that she is perhaps the most well known candidate running for office among all announced – and yet to be announced candidates. The name recognition is immediate. She was the First Lady during Bill Clinton’s Presidency, the US Senator from New York during the Bush Presidency, and the Secretary of State for the first term of current President Barack Obama. She has therefore complied quite a resume.

Her tenure as Secretary of State does tell us something about her foreign policy views. Although  even there, as part of the Executive Branch of government she was mandated to reflect the views of her boss, the President. So I’m not really sure what her personal views might be on a matter that is of utmost importance to me – as it should be to anyone who cares about the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

As I have said many times in the past, Israel is the most important issue for me. Although there are other issues that I consider vitally important, like the economy, and the kind of moral leadership an individual brings to the Presidency,  I always look to see how the candidate will be treating my people.

Especially those that live in Israel. Because for them, decisions about them made by the President can have existential import. One need not go too far back in history to see how even this nation behaved during the Holocaust. We closed our doors to immigration.  We refused to bomb the railways leading to Auschwitz. And we even refused to publicly acknowledged that Jews were being systematically murdered… that a genocide of the Jewish people was going on.

The words, ‘Never again!’ keeps popping up in my mind when I look at Israel. And I am very attuned to what candidates say about her.

So even though Mrs. Clinton seems to be quite the social liberal in her views, which is counter to my beliefs, that is still secondary as to how she views the Jewish people and Israel.

First let me say that I am 100% convinced that she is not in any way anti-Semitic. She is in fact  a philo-semite. There is no better proof of that than to look at Marc Mezvinsky, a Jew that her daughter Chelsea married. And the kind of marriage ceremony they had. It had a decidedly Jewish theme complete with a Kesubah, a Chupa, and a Kipa wearing groom.

Please don’t misunderstand. I do not in any way condone intermarriage between a Jew and non Jew. It is against Halacha. But what this marriage shows is that the Clintons are clearly philo-semites in that they very much approved of the marriage and the way it was done.

But what about her views with respect to Israel? There I might have some issues with her. Although she is a strong and vocal supporter of the state… and has publicly defended her when the chips were down – I am not all that thrilled with the focus she seems to the so called peace process or the 2 state solution.  It’s not that I don’t support peace. Of course I do. And it’s not that I don’t support a 2 state solution. I support that too. In theory.

But a JTA article that quotes her on this issue concerns me. Here are some excerpts:

In December, during the Saban Forum in Washington — an annual forum of Israeli and American leaders — Clinton endorsed Obama’s positions on talks with Iran and a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


In a late March conversation with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Clinton said that the relationship between the United States and Israel should return to a “constructive footing.” …


“Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Hoenlein said in a statement regarding the conversation.

It seems to me that she is willing to push Israel into a position that it cannot afford to be in. My guess is that the refrain one constantly hears of ‘taking chances for peace’ is translated to mean pushing Israel into a two state solution. Even while an organization like Hamas is committed to her destruction. And has done everything it could to try and make that happen. It’s one thing to try and do that from Gaza. It is orders of magnitude more dangerous to give them the West Bank and enable them to try it from there. That would clearly put Israel into mortal danger.

This is why Israeli Prime Minister has said that even though he supports a two state solution, the conditions for it are not right. The Middle East is too unstable. Hamas is still committed to the Israel’s destruction and is backed by a terror spreading Iran that has been supplying them with weapons and moral support in that cause.

Yet, instead of demanding Israel’s mortal enemies to cease their efforts in that regard if they truly want peace, Mrs Clinton is focused more on getting Israel to ‘take a chance for peace’.  It would be folly and perhaps even suicidal for Israel to take that kind of chance for peace.

I am open to hearing her views as a candidate and not what she has said as an official and supporter of the Obama administration. If she ends up with the view that Israel cannot make peace at the expense of security and demands that security be the first issue to be resolved before peace can go forward, I will be with her. If on the other hand she keeps harping on Israel to ‘take chances for peace’, I will be against her. And vote for the candidate that sees Israel’s security concerns taken care of before anything can go forward .

Other issues that have recently come up about her integrity may hurt her. But I’m not sure they will destroy her. She is very popular with her natural constituency, female democratic voters and the democratic party in general. I think most of them will overlook the ‘e-mail’ and ‘Ben Ghazi’ controversies. The only question that remains is whether her popularity will hold up for the long haul. And how well received her Republican opposition will be. It could just be that the electorate is just plain tired of the Clintons (the Bushes too for that matter) and turn elsewhere. We shall see. In the meantime, I am not endorsing anyone yet. Way too early for that.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.