Thank-You Hillary Clinton
Yes, I wrote that. No, I have not been a big fan of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I was against Obama appointing her to Secretary of State. (Of course, I’m happy that my first choice, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) was passed over, because it would have been far more embarrassing for him to back out of the S of S post due to Federal Elections investigations than it was when he removed himself from Commerce! Sheesh!) I have never shared the rightwing “Clinton hatred” (which has been shifted to Obama), but I was critical of her husband’s presidency (mostly as squandered potential for good) and her candidacy for the presidency.
But I think a “prophetic stance” that ONLY yells at politicians when they screw up is counterproductive. One should ALWAYS send notes and phone calls of appreciation when a politician, ANY politician, does something right. It greatly increases the chances they will continue to do so.
So, today, I sent Secretary Clinton a thank-you note because in Israel this week, she publicly criticized the government of Israel and the government of the city of Jerusalem for demolitions and planned demolitions of Palestinain homes in East Jerusalem. She rightly called it a violation of Israel’s agreements on the so-called “road map” to a two state peace. (She did not say, as she could have, that it was a violation of International Law and about a thousand UN resolutions, including many agreed to by several U.S. administrations of both parties, but she said something!) Make no mistake–as hard as it will be for my international readers to understand, in the U.S. context this is an act of political courage. Secretary Clinton will get TONS of hatemail and criticism from rightwing pro-Israel-no-matter-what groups and their well-financed media allies over this. ANY criticism, no matter how small, of Israel by an American politician carries a political price that it does not anywhere else–not even IN Israel.
So, peace folk and progressives, whatever we feel about Secretary Clinton overall–or the evolving Obama administration’s approach to Middle East peace–we need to put all that aside and have Secretary Clinton’s back on this one. Take time out, now, and email her and thank her for speaking out against Palestinian home demolitions. If you are one of my international readers, please join in this effort. If you want a different kind of U.S. presence in the world, you need to cheer us when we do the right thing (even baby steps) as well as criticize us when we do wrong. (You can also suggest other concrete steps for her to take. I urged her to speak out against the Israeli wall that eats up Palestinian land and turns the West Bank into a giant open air prison and I urged her to publicly call for Hamas to join a unity govt. with Fatah so that they could air their concerns to the U.S. through Fatah without the U.S. having to negotiate with a group it considers terrorist. Baby steps–but those get the ball rolling.)
Now, after emailing or phoning the Secretary and thanking her, send a copy of that email to President Obama, and (if you are a U.S. citizen) to your Congressperson and Senators–regardless of party. Then write your local newspaper and commend Secretary Clinton’s words in public. If you are a Christian minister or Jewish Rabbi, PLEASE take this last extra step–because the media will be flooded with condemnations of Clinton’s words by rightwing Jews and Christians who claim to speak for everyone of their faith. If you belong to a group like Churches for a Middle East Peace or Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, or Rabbis for Human Rights, etc., put that in your message. It will raise awareness of the diversity of views and, hopefully, change the nature of the debate in the media and Congress.
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