Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton emphasized her pro-Israel credentials during an interview Saturday with the New York Daily News, looking to capitalize on recent missteps by rival Bernie Sanders, whose faux pas on the 2014 Gaza war has alienated some Jewish backers.
Clinton sat down with the paper’s editorial board for an extended interview which was released on Monday. Speaking on a variety of issues both foreign and domestic, the former Secretary of State staked out hawkish positions on the war on terror and support for Israel, distinguishing herself both from Sanders and her former boss, President Obama.
Regarding terrorism, Clinton pointed out to the Daily News that she’s actively opposed President Obama on his proposed security spending cuts, repeating emphatically that “We need it, we need it, we need it!”
Turning to Israel, Clinton looked to establish her pro-Israel bona fides, blasting the BDS movement and promising to strengthen Israel’s military.
“I will continue to ensure that Israel has a qualitative military edge; that I will continue, as I did as a senator, as I did as Secretary of State to do anything and everything for their security; that I will continue to speak out against the BDS movement, which I think is one-sided, discriminatory and unfair,” Clinton said.
Making a veiled reference to rumors suggesting that the Obama administration was weighing possible use of a UN Security Council resolution to force Israel to accept the framework for a future final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority, Clinton suggested she would not support such an approach.
“I will be a President who tries to always support Israel in the United Nations or any other international tribunal, as I have in the past.”
When pressed about her vocal opposition to Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, Clinton looked to play down her past disagreements with Israel, arguing that her stance was no different than that of prior administrations, both Republican and Democratic.
“I think administrations both Democrat and Republican have all adopted the same position: that settlement expansion is not helpful in the context of the continuing American interest in helping to bring the parties together to try to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict. So I am in line with prior Republicans and Democrats. But I also have a long history and a personal commitment to Israel's security and to its future that I have been outspoken about, that I have been stalwart and strong in every way.”