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Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View

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The Hillary Clinton juggernaut continues to roll on, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders playing the foil, and giving the impression of a ‘competitive’ contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. This, of course, will allow Mrs. Clinton to say that her nomination wasn’t a coronation, any more than will be her election, assuming the Republican’s nominate any of the current clowns stuffed into the high-rolling clown car.

There are so many reasons to oppose Mrs. Clinton that time and space preclude a lengthy treatise on them all. This writer does not have sufficient time to write the book that would be required to give these diverse reasons justice. But we will look at one, and see how it impacts many others.

One might accuse this writer of being a ‘one-issue voter’, since support by a candidate for Israel automatically costs that candidate this writer’s vote. And the former First Lady, New York senator and Secretary of State is nothing if not a strong supporter of apartheid Israel. But can one divorce this issue from all others? Is it really that separate? Let’s look at how the Palestinian issues play out in so many other areas.

International law. It appears that Mrs. Clinton has no respect for international law, which Israel violates constantly, in barbaric ways, and has for decades. If Mrs. Clinton is willing to overlook such violations by Israel, might she not overlook them when committed by other nations? One wonders what her criteria are for demanding adherence to international law. As Secretary of State, she was responsible for assuring that the United States followed that law. Obviously, it has little meaning for her.

Domestic law. The U.S., by law, is forbidden from financially supporting nations in violation of international law, yet Mrs. Clinton never saw a bill with foreign aid to Israel contained in it that she didn’t like. If she chooses to cherry-pick laws she will follow and those she won’t, she fantinadoes not seem like a good candidate for the highest office in the land (although it could be argued that that attitude is just business as usual for U.S. presidents).

Human rights. Arabs and Africans living in Israel live under different laws than Israelis. Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank can be arrested and held indefinitely without charge. They are routinely shot and killed, with their murders sometimes being filmed, yet the perpetrators are not charged. Palestinian homes in the West Bank are routinely demolished to make room for illegal, Israeli-only settlements, or Israeli-only roads. All this seems just fine with Mrs. Clinton.

Domestic Impact. In the U.S., students wanting to earn a university diploma often complete their four-year degree with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt. They are charged high interest rates for government ‘student loans’, and even declaring bankruptcy doesn’t absolve them from this particular obligation. In Israel, which receives at least $3.8 billion in aid from the U.S. annually, and this total is ever-increasing, the average cost of tuition to earn a bachelor’s degree is $2,537.00 in U.S. dollars. In the U.S., the average tuition for a bachelor’s degree is $29,408.00. So the 3.8 billion, U.S.- taxpayer dollars that go to Israel every year could provide free tuition for millions of U.S. citizens.

Mrs. Clinton seems very happy to provide Israeli students with affordable higher education, and just as happy to force U.S. students to pay exorbitant interest rates to the government to fund their educations. To give this some context, in 2013, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed allowing students to borrow from the government at the same rate that banks did: 0.75%. At that time, students were paying 3.4%. This proposal, of course was voted down, and students now are paying 4.66%.

A report by the Wall Street Journal in 2012 indicates that, among people aged 25 – 64 in the U.S, 42% have a university degree; in Israel, the same report states that within that age cohort, 46% of its citizens have a university degree. Mrs. Clinton seems to have no problem with U.S. taxpayers funding the higher educations of Israeli citizens, while those same taxpayers pay high interest rates for their children to attend some of the most expensive colleges and universities in the world.

So the illustrious Mrs. Clinton, by not supporting Palestine and by fawning all over apartheid Israel, reveals her true colors in a variety of areas. What comes first for the presumptive Democratic nominee, the U.S., or Israel?

This writer finds himself on a variety of ‘Hillary’ mailing lists, and is forever receiving enthusiastic fund-raising emails from the campaign, telling him ‘not to miss his chance’ and to ‘get his name on the official donor wall’, etc. He responds to these colorful and pseudo-alluring emails with a rather dry email of his own, simply stating that Mrs. Clinton’s support for Israel prevents his support for her. Yet the flow of emails does not stop, simply because the campaign has been told that this voter will not support Mrs. Clinton even if hell freezes over. He is still told that he ‘deserves’ to donate to the campaign, and even that Mrs. Clinton is anxious to get to know him over dinner, and he can enter a contest to see if he will, in fact, dine with her. As there was no financial obligation attached to that one, this writer decided to enter; after all, he is registered to vote in a swing state (Florida), so maybe he will be picked to dine with her; however, it is doubtful that she will enjoy the meal.

Although it is still early in the long, tortuous, U.S. campaign season, and would-be candidates keep popping up in both major parties, although there is far more popping being done on the GOP side, at this point, it appears that nothing can stop the former First Lady. That this is the best the U.S. can do is a sad commentary on the state of the country.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

CounterPunch Magazine

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