Sunday, March 14, 2010
People familiar with me know I am not exactly a fan of Hillary Clinton. I was neutral about her until she sat down with then-candidate Barack Obama and HRC president Joe Solmonese for the LOGO/Human Rights Campaign presidential primary event in 2008. When asked about repealing her husband’s ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’ Clinton said she was opposed to its repeal — only article 3, the portion of DOMA that blocks Federal benefits from conveying to same-sex partners should be repealed. Her remarks were chilling and largely responsible for my reason to support Obama in the election.
But, that was then and today, Clinton travels the world as America’s Secretary of State. Overall, I think Clinton has done a good job representing the values and interests of our country. She’s smart and strident and not afraid to speak the truth to power, even when that power is the U.S. closest allies, and strategic partner, Israel.
Israel’s decision to move ahead with 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, announced during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, was a slap in the U.S.’s face and promptly drew criticism from Washington in language rarely directed at even Iran or North Korea.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel’s announcement “was an insult to the United States.” Clinton’s words are a welcomed change from the usual U.S. posture of handled Israel with kid gloves.
In a 45-minute phone call Friday to Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Clinton upbraided him and demanded that he take more steps to show his nation’s commitment to the peace process. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in the midst of the diplomatic friction, described the administration’s objection to the project as “the first time the U.S. has really pushed back hard.”
Unaccustomed to such sharp U.S. criticism, the Israeli government was stunned and perplexed by the Clinton’s assault. Netanyahu convened seven members of his Cabinet on Saturday to consider their response, and his office said a committee would investigate the timing of the housing announcement.