Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy announcement this weekend has had Israel activists dusting off their archives, as they sought to establish whether the senior Democrat is a friend or foe of the Jewish state.
The former first lady previously sought the Democratic nomination but lost out to Barack Obama, under whom she then served as Secretary of State. Her candidacy was widely expected.
Clinton has good relations with American Jewish leaders, most recently meeting Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, at the end of March.
She is known to support a diplomatic deal with Iran, and has expressed concern about a frayed US-Israel relationship, exacerbated by what many saw as Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwelcome address to the US Congress in March, to bolster his election campaign.
Clinton is an outspoken advocate of Israel and defended the IDF campaign in Gaza last year, saying the world’s reaction to Israeli aggression was “uncalled for and unfair” and suggesting that an underlying anti-Semitism was at least partly to blame.
Her team has long courted the community’s support, with an outreach group called ‘Jewish Americans Ready for Hillary’ launched as far back as June last year.
Close advisers include Steve Rabinowitz, a Washington publicist who worked under Bill Clinton; Marc Stanley, the past chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council; and Fran Katz Watson, a veteran fundraiser for Democratic and pro-Israel causes.