Jill Stein has a message to Israel: You’re not that special.
The Green Party presidential candidate, who was raised Jewish, says she would take a tough love stance toward the Jewish state, slashing the $4 billion annual military aid package and pressing for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Stein says her stance will actually make Israel safer by pushing for change.
“I don’t think we’re doing Israel a favor by condoning a policy that makes Israel very insecure,” Stein said during a Wednesday night town hall discussion hosted by CNN,.
Asked on CNN if she’d view Israel a special ally of the United States, Stein replied: “I believe all our allies are special allies.”
Israel may not have much to worry about. Stein is trailing with less than 5% in the polls and is a prohibitive underdog to even make the presidential debates, which require a 15% showing in national polls.
Still, Stein is enjoying somewhat of a breakthrough week with the CNN event and other media appearances that have given her, along with her running mate Ajamu Baraka, a chance to present her views at length to a broader audience.
Later, in an interview the progressive Democracy Now network, Stein sought to make clear that she is not targeting only Israel.
“Were not singling out anybody,” Stein said, “this is a general standard of international law and human rights that our administration would apply to all countries.”
The Green Party’s presidential candidate added that “if countries are in violation of international law and human rights, as Israel is for of its occupations, its home demolitions, its assassinations, and so on, that we will not support you, and right now we are supporting Israel to the tune of $8 million a day,”
She noted that the same rule applies to Saudi Arabia as well as other U.S. allies.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman