The latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails to be released is being scoured for classified information today. While the Clinton camp is taking solace in the fact that there was no “Top Secret” data in these communications, the large number of emails with classified information is just drawing more attention to the former secretary of state’s allergy to transparency and doing her presidential candidacy no end of harm. But there is more to be learned here than a reaffirmation of what we already knew about the Clintons’ passion for secrecy. The treasure trove of information about her work at the state department also gives us an inside view of her close relationship with Sidney Blumenthal. We already knew that Blumenthal’s role in Hillary’s life illustrated the conflicts of interest created by the Clinton Family Foundation since he was, at one and the same time, a paid consultant by the so-called charity, seeking business opportunities in Libya while also operating as an adviser to the secretary about topics in which he had a vested interest. But what wasn’t clear until today was the extent to which the person whom she has publicly described as a close personal friend was counseling her to distance herself from pro-Israel groups and filling up her email account with anti-Zionist and other left-wing screeds by his son Max that she had printed out for further reading. The Blumenthal-Clinton correspondence is notable for many reasons but principally because it gives us a window into the sorts of conversations that would go on inside a Hillary Clinton White House.
As Politico reports, the Blumenthal missives are numerous and wide-ranging in terms of the topics covered. Blumenthal’s pose as a Libya expert was risible as he knew nothing about the country other than the tidbits he gleaned as he attempt to profit from his connections there in the wake of the fall of the Qaddafi regime. But the Clinton White House political hit man had plenty to say about just about every foreign policy issue and the former first lady was eager to hear all of it.
Yet the topic about which Blumenthal seemed to have the most passion was his attempt to steer Clinton away from the sort of pro-Israel stands that she had established while in the Senate. Blumenthal urged her to give “tough love” to Israel. That’s a nice way of saying that he wanted her to lecture and threaten it to bow to Obama administration dictates even if they undermined the alliance between the two countries and Israel’s security.
As he said in one email about a speech she was scheduled to give to an AIPAC conference, he wanted her to: “remind it in as subtle but also direct a way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion.”
Just as telling is the way he plied her with his son Max’s articles. Max Blumenthal is a radical left wing writer and the author of Goliath, a vicious anti-Zionist polemic that attacks Israel’s right to exist and urges its isolation and ultimate dissolution. As the Daily Caller notes, Sidney sent Clinton some of Max’s pieces supporting the so-called Gaza flotilla and attacking Israel’s attempt to enforce the blockade of the Hamas state in the strip. Other Max Blumenthal pieces passed along by his dad spread libels about Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. Still more sought to highlight “Islamophobia” on the right.
The point here is that Sidney Blumenthal is not just one among many voices whispering in Hillary Clinton’s ears. He is a close friend and, as the emails attest, a valued adviser. Indeed, Clinton kept him close to her despite the fact that the Obama White House wouldn’t let her hire him and sought to keep him away from all policy discussions and decisions.
Despite what Clinton may tell her many pro-Israel donors, keeping a man like Blumenthal in her inner circle is a telling indication of her true feelings about a lot of issues, but especially that of the state of Israel. If she were to become president, Sidney’s voice would continue to have great weight in her counsels. Just as dangerous, it would help legitimize Max Blumenthal’s views.
During the course of the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, we have already witnessed the collapse of the pro-Israel wing of the Democratic Party. Faced with pressure by President Obama, most liberal Democrats, even many with strong pro-Israel records, caved into administration pressure and backed the agreement despite the fact that it fell far short of Obama’s own criteria for success when the negotiations started.
Despite the rearguard efforts of some figures in the party to keep it at a distance from Obama’s antagonism to the Jewish state, Democrats are largely abandoning Israel on Iran. The Blumenthal emails make it clear this won’t be a passing fancy if Hillary becomes president.
The assumption has been that if Clinton were elected, the damage done to the U.S.-Israel alliance by Obama would begin to be undone. Clinton was, we were told, the adult in the room. Her backers assure us that she has a tougher-minded foreign policy approach than that of a president who is clearly committed to prioritizing détente with the Islamist regime in Tehran over strengthening the alliance with Israel. But so long as Sidney Blumenthal, and by extension his son Max, are going to be treated as valued voices within the Clinton camp, Hillary’s pose as a defender of Israel is no longer credible. She may not go as far as they like in distancing herself from the pro-Israel community. But the notion that she will restore the closeness Obama wrecked is obviously untrue. With Sidney whispering in her ear, there will be plenty more of the dangerous “daylight” that Obama has done so much to create between the two nations.
While Clinton has more to fear from the email issue than fallout about Blumenthal, the Hillary-Sidney emails show just that the pro-Israel community will be on thin ice if she recovers and wins in November 2016.