Hillary Clinton at Saban Forum: Israel Lacking in Generosity and Empathy for “Oppressed” Palestinians (VIDEO)

December 1, 2012 11:11 pm 21 comments

Hillary Clinton at the Saban Forum. Photo: Screenshot.

In a candid talk delivered at the Saban Forum on U.S.-Israel Relations in Washington D.C. on Friday, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the Palestinian Authority for a lack of progress towards peace in the region, and called out Israel for what she described as, ”a lack of generosity,” towards the Palestinian Arabs and a “lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion.”

“There is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds,” she added.

These comments were made during a question and answer session that followed a speech  given at the Forum in which Clinton also spoke affectionately about Israel, pledging to return to the Jewish state as a private citizen.

“As I prepare to trade in my post as Secretary of State for a little more rest and relaxation, I look forward to returning to Israel as a private citizen on a commercial plane – (laughter) – walking the streets of the Old City, sitting in a cafe in Tel Aviv, visiting the many Israelis and Palestinians I’ve gotten to know over the years,” she said.

Shocked by her candor, journalist Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted: “A serious question, @blakehounshell, and @lrozen — does Hillary know she’s speaking on the record?”

The full text of her statements,  courtesy of the State Department website can be read here. Clinton’s full comments about Israel’s “suspicion” regarding the Palestinian Arabs, in context, can be read below:

Well, look, I think Israelis have good grounds to be suspicious. And I would never be one who tries to rewrite or dismiss history. The Palestinians could have had a state as old as I am if they had made the right decision in 1947. They could have had a state if they had worked with my husband and then-Prime Minister Barak at Camp David. They could have had a state if they’d worked with Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni.

Now, would it have been a perfectly acceptable outcome for every Israeli and every Palestinian? No. No compromise ever is. But there were moments of opportunity. And I will also say this. When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze I flew to Jerusalem. We’d been working on this. George Mitchell had been taking the lead on it. And when Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze, it wasn’t perfect. It didn’t cover East Jerusalem, but it covered much of the contested area in the West Bank.

And I stood on a stage with him at 11 o’clock – Israelis always meet late at night, I don’t understand it – (laughter) – but 11 o’clock at night, midnight, and I said it was unprecedented for any Israeli prime minister to have done that. I got so criticized. I got criticized from the right, the left, the center, Israeli, Jewish, Arab, Christian, you name it. Everybody criticized me. But the fact was it was a 10-month settlement freeze. And he was good to his word. And we couldn’t get the Palestinians into the conversation until the tenth month.

So, look, I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion. So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds, and they want to figure out, within the bounds of security and a Jewish democratic state, what can be accomplished.

And I think that, unfortunately, there are more and more Israelis and Palestinians who just reject that idea out of hand: Why bother? Why try? We’ll never be able to reach an agreement with the other. But in the last 20 years, I’ve seen Israeli leaders make an honest, good-faith effort and not be reciprocated in the way that was needed.

Videos of Clinton’s speech and her comments on the Israelis are posted below:

21 Comments

  • HILLARIOUS HILLARY!

    WHY OBAMA AND YOU ARE LACKING EMPATHY TOWARD BIN-LADEN AND THE AL-QAEDA GUYS AND CIVILIANS THAT THE US AIR FORCE IS KILLING IN BUNCH?

  • As a nation that has been opressed throughout history, at every quarter, and continues to be so! I find Clinton’s comment to be puerile and tasteless.

    “There is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds,” she added.”

    What exactly do Jews/Israelis not understand (in their minds) about being opressed ?

  • I am sorry Madame Secretary but these words are just politician chatter. I guess you would say anything if it got you a table at a cafe in Tel Aviv.
    Now we can all agree that you have unofficially started your presidential campaign.

  • ‘The Palestinians could have had a state as old as I am if they had made the right decision in 1947. They could have had a state if they had worked with my husband and then-Prime Minister Barak at Camp David. They could have had a state if they’d worked with Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni.’

    It would be nice to hear The Obama expressing the same sentiments publicly before the beginning of his second term as President of the United States of America. It would do a lot to calm Israeli apprehensions about him and the people around him.

    Of course, the UK Guardian would go into convulsions.

  • elliot j. stamler

    This comment is so sagacious, balanced and thoughtful that it makes me so proud as a New Yorker we elected Mrs. Clinton twice to the US Senate and gives me enormous hope our country will in future have the chance to vote for her for the presidency.

  • I think that this part of her comments is quite startling and should be taken t heart by the Palestinians:

    “The Palestinians could have had a state as old as I am if they had made the right decision in 1947. They could have had a state if they had worked with my husband and then-Prime Minister Barak at Camp David. They could have had a state if they’d worked with Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni.”

    That is the crux of it – if they would only learn to say “yes” they could have almost everything they want.

  • Clinton has started to sound like Obama. Having empathy for the Palestinians would only result in more Israeli deaths from terrorists. I do not understand why the world expects Israelis to be loving toward people who want to destroy them. It is the Arab world that abandoned the Palestinians long ago. The Arab world has so much wealth. They could have absorbed the Palestinians, but prefer to use them as pawns against the Israelis and the Palestinians and the world just overlook this.

  • Thank you, Madam Secretary for all your hard work. And deep appreciation for your support of Israel.

  • she talks thru both sides of her mouth..she’s a vicious snake

  • Hillary Clinton cares as much about Israel and the Jews as Obama’s best buddy Rashid Khalidi who supports the PLO CHARTER which calls the murder of six million Jews
    Why do you think the LA TIMES is refusing to release the tape of Obama effusively praising Khalidi for his antisemetic views?..Views Obama and Clinton share…

  • Finally the Algemeiner refuses to be honest and tell its readers the truth: that the editor decided to make sure the readers do not know that Hillary explicitly referred to “GENEROSITY” by citing the specific details of what she meant: “…expediting the tax revenues that Israel collects and then remits to the Palestinians, the more investment that Israel can try to help catalyze inside the West Bank,Israel collects and then remits to the Palestinians, the more investment that Israel can try to help catalyze inside the West Bank,”

    See her full quote below:
    [ Hillary clinton:] “And so, for me, it has always seemed clear that the more Israel can do to help support that, the better for Israel. But I know there’s a debate in Israel. Some people say, “Well, President Abbas is not a partner for peace. He’s not somebody that could make a deal and stick with it.” But I think that should be tested. And I think while it is being tested there can be a concerted effort to kind of win over some of the Palestinians in the West Bank with a very clear distinction between the lives they’re able to lead now compared to the lives of their cousins in Gaza.

    And I think that the more generous Israel can be on everything from expediting the tax revenues that Israel collects and then remits to the Palestinians, the more investment that Israel can try to help catalyze inside the West Bank, the more opportunities for people to feel like they have a real stake in a more positive future, helps provide a bulwark for Israel’s security, whether or not there is a comprehensive agreement in the near future.

  • G-d forbid the Algemeiner act like they care about not misleading Klal Yisroel. Today they posted an article saying it is in context but refuse to cite the link of her whole speech, refuse to tell the reader she was naswering a question after a speech, refuse to tell the reader that the question was asked by a person who is part of the Jewish Organization in which she was speaking, refuses to tell the reader the question and give the entire answer without cutting it up, and refusing to tell the reader she was kissing up to all the Klal in the audience, and using the words to address the question of the questioner in her answer.

  • It is good to read her comments in context.
    The palestinians are intransigent.

  • Why don’t we see speeches like this on American media coverage? I absolutely would have watched this.

  • :

    Special Briefing on Incitement in the Palestinian Authority

    (Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

    Pursuant to Abu Mazen’s incitement speech at the UN General Assembly, the Cabinet, today (Sunday, 2 December 2012), received a special briefing on incitement in the Palestinian Authority.

    The briefing was presented by Strategic Affairs Ministry Director-General Yossi Kuperwasser, the coordinator of the professional team that is monitoring the issue and which is constantly updating the “Culture of Peace and Incitement Index in the Palestinian Authority” (please click here for an English PowerPoint display).

    In the period under review there was a negative record in expressions of hatred and incitement against Israel as seen in remarks by senior Palestinian Authority officials, on official websites, in the media and in the Palestinian Authority education system. Examples were shown – inter alia – of the use of Hitler’s ideas, the adoration of suicide terrorists, anti-Semitic caricatures, the complete ignoring of Israel on official maps, calls for a return to Jaffa and Haifa, etc.

    Abu Mazen’s two recent UN speeches should be especially noted; they included expressions of severe incitement and have greatly contributed to the education towards hatred.

    It was also noted in the briefing that the Palestinian education system has no plan whatsoever for encouraging coexistence and an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

    “This is additional proof that this is not a dispute over land but a denial of the existence of the State of Israel. Their unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in any borders whatsoever is the root of the conflict. When there is a map that shows Palestine over the entire area of Israel, there is a conflict here over the very existence of the State of Israel in all its territory. The Palestinian Authority is unwilling to move towards accepting the existence of the State of Israel. It is poisoning the Palestinian public.

    The Palestinians want to use the diplomatic process in order to bring about the end of the State of Israel. Going to the UN is part of this. The Palestinian Authority is waging a struggle over the very existence of the State of Israel. While we are prepared to recognize them, they deny our existence. We would have long since reached a solution if they had wanted it.

    As long as the Palestinian Authority educates the younger generation to hate, how is it at all possible to talk about peace?

    They are raising the younger generation to hate. They are educating for the destruction of Israel. I do not see here any discourse for peace; there is no discourse that prepares the way for coexistence. The discourse is one of hatred and the destruction of the State of Israel.”

    Prime Minister Netanyahu directed that the matter be brought to the attention of the countries who voted in favor of the Palestinian move, which contravenes all the agreements.

    Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said, “As long as the Palestinian Authority educates its people toward hatred, and non-recognition, of Israel, there will not be peace. They are sending deep messages and this education is being absorbed by all sections of the populace, especially the younger generation.” RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG , PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER ISRAEL ADVOCACY TASK FORCE

  • Why in the world of all common sense, logic, and rationality would Israel be called to task regarding the plight of the Palestinians? In the past twelve years, Israel has
    “absorbed” 12,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars terrorizing its civilian population, There has never been a moment of serious negotiation with any Palestinian leader to recognize the Jewish State of Israel and sincerely negotiate with the Israeli leadership about the realization of a Palestinian state not occupied by Israel itself. Israelis–women and children, the infirm, and the elderly–have been ruthlessly attacked, wounded, and murdered without any rationality for decades. Now I speak as an Israeli citizen and an American citizen and educator who was born, raised, and educated in Chicago, Illinois, just a few miles from where Hillary Clinton was born, raised, and educated in Park Ridge, Illinois. As a Christian woman, the United States Secretary of State, the former first lady of the United States for eight years, and a former senator of the state of New York, in all decent conscience how can Secretary Clinton cast such a malicious accusation about Israel’s “lack of generosity and lack of empathy for the ‘oppressed” Palestinians” in the wake of such consummate hatred being spewed at the UN General Assembly in a vote of anti-Semitic derisive revisionism against the Jewish State of Israel and a history of suicide killings, unprovoked massive rocket attacks traumatizing thousands of Israeli children and adults, as well as a continued blood libel being practiced by Palestinian leaders and educators in Palestinian schools, colleges, universities, textbooks, newspapers, television, radio, and plays? I am personally dumbfounded by such a total lack of understanding of the people of Israel by one who still professes a fond connection to the State of Israel.

  • “There is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds,” she added.”

    Quite possibly the most ironically ignorant and asinine comment I’ve ever seen on the subject from a supposedly 3rd party – particularly galling coming from a Secretary of State.

  • I totally agree with JR. Ms. Clinton should try truth for a change.

  • I totally agree with JR. Ms. Clinton needs to truthful for a change.

  • The Palestinians have been oppressed – by themselves and by other Muslim nations happily using them to arouse violence. And, what Muslim nation has ever offered them a sanctuary home? Israel has a lengthy history, off and on, of being far too empathetic and generous, accomodating Palestinians to the tragic detriment of many of its own citizens and national security, if the word “security” still carries any validity anywhere in a world spoiling for war.

    • she referred to generosity specificalyl as expediting taxes due the PA and not investing more in the West Bank ( not Gaza)

      Read the article people

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