There’s a principle that I call The Exception Clause. Essentially, you add the words “except for Jews” or “except for Israel” to the end of every rule, statement, etc. that the world lives by, or something that is expected of everyone. It was in full bloom in Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech yesterday, where, we were told, she would be asking the Palestinians and Arabs to work as hard at fulfilling their obligations toward peace as the Obama administration is demanding from Israel.
And yet, Hillary Clinton’s speech said nothing specific, and did not live up to its hype. In fact, Secretary Clinton gave me the most recent in a long line of examples of The Exception Clause. Add “except for Israel” to the end of this excerpt, and you will see what I mean.
Weâ€™ve also begun to adopt a more flexible and pragmatic posture with our partners. We wonâ€™t agree on every issue. Standing firm on our principles shouldnâ€™t prevent us from working together where we can. So we will not tell our partners to take it or leave it, nor will we insist that theyâ€™re either with us or against us.
It’s a fabrication. Because in Cairo, Obama did exactly that:
The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
And referring to the President’s speech, Hillary said:
With respect to settlements, the President was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is in the best interests of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others. And we intend to press that point.
Both of those quotes sure look like “take it or leave it” to me.
As for the “muscular” speech that would demand action from the Palestinians, well, here’s what Hillary demanded:
Ending the conflict requires action on all sides. The Palestinians have the responsibility to improve and extend the positive actions already taken on security; to act forcefully against incitement; and to refrain from any action that would make meaningful negotiations less likely.
They have to “improve and extend” actions already taken. They have to “act forcefully” against incitement. Hillary didn’t even ask them specifically to end it. She could have demanded that the Palestinians should stop publishing textbooks that paint the entire land of Israel as “Palestine.” But the administration prefers to turn a blind eye to these realities, or downplay them. Instead, Obama calls in some Jewish leaders for a charm offensive, and most of them fall for it.
I haven’t. Obama is no friend of Israel. And Hillary is a fair-weather friend. When it suits her to be pro-Israel, she will be. When it doesn’t—well. Read the speech again. And don’t believe the hype. It’s almost never true.
The only thing you can count on is that Israel will always be the exception to every world rule.