Clinton: US-Israeli relations need to be ‘constructive’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S.-Israeli relationship needs to return to “constructive footing,” according to a prominent Jewish leader who spoke to the former secretary of state during the weekend.
Clinton, a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, said the U.S. and Israel need to get back to shared concerns and interests, including a negotiated two-state solution, according to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing,” the group’s executive vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein, said in the statement quoting Clinton’s comments. The statement concluded: “We must ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue.”
Clinton has avoided publicly discussing American relations with Israel in recent weeks, which have been strained by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood and a late campaign warning that Arab voters were heading to the polls “in droves.”
Netanyahu has backtracked on his statements but the White House said it had hurt prospects of negotiating a two-state solution.
Clinton has longstanding ties to Netanyahu, who first served as prime minister during the second term of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton wrote in her latest book that Netanyahu was a “complicated figure” who was skeptical of a two-state solution giving Palestinians their own country.
In a 2014 interview, Clinton said she had maintained a good relationship with Netanyahu “in part because we can yell at each other, and we do. And I was often the designated yeller.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that she spoke with Hoenlein by phone on Sunday but declined to elaborate.