The Deterioration of the U.S.- Israeli Relationship: A Major Test for Hillary Clinton

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    Under normal circumstances, Hillary Clinton’s position on Israel would be a no-brainer. She would take the usual position of a Democratic candidate: strong in alliance with Israel, and expressing support for a peace process working toward a two-state solution.

    These, however, are not normal circumstances.

    The way the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sought re-election, and succeeded in that quest — by an unprecedented slap at an American president in speaking as he did to Congress, in alliance with the president’s enemies; and by the ugly way he drew upon fear and bigotry in the final days when he faced possible defeat — have made the usual position impossible.

    Hillary must now –that is, whenever she enters the presidential race — find a way to solve some difficult simultaneous equations. How does she 1) support Israel in ways that satisfy those who care about Israel and generally support the Democrats, 2) take into account the blow that Netanyahu inflicted on any notion of a peace process, and 3) stand with the president of her Party– a president who, being full up to here with Netanyahu, has deliberately (and in my view, quite rightly) affirmed the serious breach in the normal constellation of relations between the two countries.

    Whether she finds a way to do so will demonstrate a good deal about her political skills. And about what she’s made of.