Hillary Clinton Backs Obama Foreign Policy in AJC Speech

Possible Presidential Candidate Takes Tough Pose

getty images

By JTA

Published May 15, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced the Obama administration’s second-term Middle East policies in an address to the American Jewish Committee.

Clinton, in a major foreign policy address Wednesday coming as she nears a decision on whether to seek the presidency in 2016, outlined her role as President Obama’s first-term secretary of state in setting the stage for second-term policies, including nuclear talks with Iran and the renewed Israel-Palestinians talks.

“I was involved in developing a bilateral channel,” she said, referring to the nuclear talks between Iran and major powers that have largely been credited to Clinton’s successor as secretary of state, John Kerry. “This is a promising development and we need to test it.”

Clinton reinforced her image as a foreign policy hawk by embracing the rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in describing possible outcomes of the Iran talks.

“To get there, we will have to be tough, clear-eyed and ready to walk away if need be,” she said. “No deal is better than a bad deal. We cannot or should not accept any agreement that endangers Israel or our national security.”

However, Clinton also made clear that she rejected concerns by Netanyahu and Republicans that the talks now underway ceded too much to Iran, for instance in lifting some sanctions.

“There will be an opportunity to put in place additional sanctions in the future,” she said.

Clinton also praised Kerry for his efforts in renewing the Israeli-Palestinian talks last July, despite their collapse last month. Like Kerry, she squarely blamed both sides for the collapse.

“In the end, the parties were not ready to make the compromise necessary,” she said.

A feature of Clinton’s 2008 bid for the presidency, and of some of the bitter exchanges between the Obama and Clinton campaigns in that primary race, was that she was perceived as being relatively closer to the pro-Israel community.

Obama named his rival secretary of state after his election, but Clinton’s low profile on Iran and on Israeli-Palestinian peace, contrasted with Kerry’s subsequent assertive posture in both areas, suggested that she was not as invested in American engagement in the Middle East.

Her remarks to an enthusiastically pro-Israel crowd attending the AJC’s annual Washington conference indicate that if she chooses to run, she is likely to maintain Obama’s policies in the region.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.