Not good. Not good at all.
As Joe Biden acknowledged in his AIPAC speech on Sunday, Israel’s “steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land” is making a two-state solution impossible. The settlements are pushing Israel toward a one-state reality, in which Jews rule over the Arabs with whom they are geographically intermingled. Clinton’s speech, however, barely nodded toward this reality, and when it did, it was with a promise to protect Israel from the consequences of flouting international law.
Here is the entirety of Clinton’s remarks about settlements: “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements. Now, America has an important role to play in supporting peace efforts. And as president, I would continue the pursuit of direct negotiations. And let me be clear—I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.”
She spent significantly more time railing against the “alarming” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which is gaining traction on college campuses nationwide. Pledging to “take our alliance to the next level,” Clinton said that one of the first things she’d do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House. That was a barely veiled rebuke to Obama, who never treated Benjamin Netanyahu with the deference the prime minister felt entitled to. Before the speech, some had hoped that Clinton might offer a word of solidarity or encouragement to beleaguered progressives in Israel. She gave them nothing.
It’s understandable that Clinton would want to widen the gulf between AIPAC and Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee. “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 is negotiable,” she said to applause, out-hawking the man who is running on a platform of Middle Eastern war crimes. In doing so, she offered a bridge to #NeverTrump neoconservatives like Max Boot and Robert Kagan, who has already written that, should Trump be the nominee, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.”
Say what you will about Obama and drones, Obama and Palestinians, Obama and whatever. In a year, we will looking back wistfully on this golden age of American foreign policy in the Middle East. It’s all going to get worse under President Hillary Clinton.