Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said "America can't ever be neutral" when it comes to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (video below).
Speaking at the annual conference for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee on March 21, Clinton took great pains to demonstrate that, if elected president, she would continue the U.S. policy of supporting Israel over the Palestinians in every way possible and strengthen those commitments, including refusing to negotiate certain terms.
In a dig against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has bragged about his negotiating skills in debates and on the campaign trail, Clinton insinuated the negotiation is akin to flip-flopping.
“Yes, we need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” Clinton said. “Well, my friends, Israel’s security is nonnegotiable.”
Clinton also spoke about other methods of increasing political and financial support for Israel, which is the largest single recipient of U.S. foreign aid, having received more than $121 billion since 1948, including nearly $3.5 billion in 2015, according to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.
“As we gather here, three evolving threats -- Iran’s continued aggression, a rising tide of extremism across a wide arc of instability, and the growing effort to de-legitimize Israel on the world stage -- are converging to make the U.S.-Israel alliance more indispensable than ever,” Clinton said.
“We have to combat all these trends with even more intense security and diplomatic cooperation. The United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever and more determined than ever to prevail against our common adversaries and to advance our shared values.”
Clinton also blamed Palestinian leaders for inciting violence but steered clear of any mention of Israeli military attacks on Palestinian civilians.
“And Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence, stop celebrating terrorists as martyrs and stop paying rewards to their families,” Clinton said as the crowd applauded.
Clinton also criticized the boycott, divest and sanction movement that seeks to bring attention to the violence perpetuated by the Israeli government against Palestinian people, particularly in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, through economic protest.
“I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now,” Clinton said. “As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS. Many of its proponents have demonized Israeli scientists and intellectuals, even students.”
Trump was scheduled to give his AIPAC speech later on March 21. Of the remaining candidates still running in the primary, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the only one who did not come to AIPAC, choosing instead to campaign against Clinton in the Western states.