Steven Zunes on Hillary Clinton’s Record on Foreign Policy

Editor’s note: We at Tikkun do NOT endorse any candidate or political party–we are a non-profit prohibited from doing so. We are aware that we’ve put more pro-Bernie articles up on our website but that is because we get them sent to us. We consistently implore our readers who support Hillary or other candidates or other parties to send us reasoned arguments related to their stances on various issues, and we will post them too. I renew that appeal now. The only time I seemed to some to be endorsing Bernie–though what I wrote explicitly said I was NOT endorsing any candidate-is in a recent communication in which I said Bernie was Israel’s best friend in this election. [  ] I said that in response to articles in the NY Times and Jewish Forward that claimed that his appointment of people critical of Israeli policy might lead to a weakening of Hillary’s chance of winning the presidency. I reacted to that kind of reasoning, because those of us who support the Israeli peace movement are always being told by liberals in the Democratic Party that privately they support the  Israeli peace movement and oppose the Occupation of the West Bank, but they dare not say so for fear of negative political repercussions for their own careers. In this situation, Bernie’s even very mild statement that the U.S. should approach the issue in an even handed way has been interpreted as wild radicalism on his part. To let Bernie or his appointees to the Platform Committee of the Democratic Party be criticized for saying things that we’ve been urging Democrats and Republicans to be saying for the past decades would have been to strengthen that tendency to allow the Israel Lobby and Christian Zionists to literally frieze out of the debate anyone who dares critique Israeli policy. Cornel West, one of the Sanders’ appointees singled out for being anti-Israel, has a much more sophisticated position on Israel than his detractors admit–one need only read the exchange we had together in our book Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin. I don’t always agree with Cornel, but he is NOT an anti-Semite and not someone who wants to see the Jewish people put in danger. Performing a wedding in NYC last week, far from my home in Berkeley, I once again connected with Cornel and assure you that the attacks on him are extremely unfair to him, but even more important, destructive to the chances that we in the peace movement can get our government to push Israel to End the Occupation, a direction which would enhance Israel’s security and reduce the new anti-Semitism spreading around the world in response to Israel’s oppressive policies toward the Palestinian people. I lay out in my book Embracing Israel and Palestine how Israel could end the occupation without endangering its security–you can order it at  Please help us prevent politicians from being cowed into submission by the Israeli lobby! I believe that is what happened to Hillary since the days when she told me personally that she fully agreed with Tikkun’s perspective on the Israel/Palestine struggle, and the demeaning of Bernie on that issue is part of that same process. His willingness to stand up for a more balanced approach makes him Israel’s best friend among politicians. But that doesn’t mean I endorse his candidacy; even if I were free to make an endorsement which IRS regulations prohibit, neither I nor Tikkun would ever make a judgment based solely on someone’s stance on Israel/Palestine, since our commitment is to heal and transform the world, and that involves many many other issues beyond Israel/Palestine. –Rabbi Michael Lerner


Prof Steven Zunes on Hillary Clinton’s Approach to Foreign Policy

My (prof Steven Zunes’) latest article looks at the implications of Hillary Clinton’s defense of Israeli attacks on civilian populations in the name of “self-defense” against terrorism and how she might therefore, as commander-in-chief of U.S. forces, dramatically loosen the rules of engagement in the “War on Terror.”

Defending Israel’s Attacks on Civilians: A Harbinger for the Clinton Presidency?

And here is a link to an hour-long interview I did for a public radio station in Missouri just prior to their primary comparing the foreign policy positions of the presidential candidates. (The audio quality isn’t great initially, but it gets better)

Please know that regardless of the concerns about Hillary’s Clinton’s foreign policy record I have expressed in my writings and I interviews, I recognize that the priority this fall for U.S. voters needs to be preventing Donald Trump from becoming president. And I also recognize the importance of rejecting the many false allegations against Hillary Clinton and categorically condemning any and all sexist attacks and misogynist language in reference to her or her candidacy.

Nevertheless, in anticipation of the final Democratic primaries next week, I am once again providing links to my articles critiquing her foreign policy positions.

This article, from a few weeks back, looks at the contrasting views between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders regarding U.S. policy towards Israel/Palestine: Hillary and Bernie Part Ways on Israel.

This is from a recent column from the National Catholic Reporter, in which I look at Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Bernie Sanders’s activism against U.S. intervention in Central America in the 1980s because of his defense of leftist governments while she continues to defend far worse right-wing dictatorships:  Hillary Clinton’s Double-Standards on Human Rights.

Here is a syndicated op-ed column of mine, which appeared in Newsday and other newspapers a few weeks ago, critically examining Hillary Clinton’s claims justifying her vote in support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq: Hillary Clinton’s Iraq Vote Still Appalls.

An earlier NCR column on the role of the United States–and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular–in consolidating the 2009  Honduras coup: The US role in the Honduras coup and subsequent violence.

A comprehensive overview of Hillary Clinton’s Middle East policy, in which I examine not only her vote to authorize the Iraq War, but her continued defense of her vote and support for the war long after even many former war supporters had apologized and were calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces. I look at her hawkish views towards Iran, her double-standards on nuclear non-proliferation, and her support for Arab dictatorships even in the throes of popular pro-democracy uprisings. I note her support for the right-wing Israeli government and her defense of Israeli settlements, as well as her attacks on the World Court, reputable international jurists, and human rights groups which have challenged Israeli violations of international humanitarian law. And I examine her role as Secretary of State in pushing for military intervention in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, as well as her backing of Morocco’s illegal occupation and annexation of Western Sahara. In short, I make the case that a Hillary Clinton presidency means a shift to the right from President Obama’s more moderate approach and the likelihood of increased U.S. support for repression, occupation, and war in the greater Middle East: Hillary the Hawk.

An analysis of the generational gap among feminists over Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, why many (particularly older) progressive women support her despite her hawkish foreign policy positions, why her foreign policy agenda is on balance harmful to the world’s women, and the importance—regardless of one’s opinions on her candidacy–of recognizing and challenging misogynist attacks against her: Hillary Clinton, Sexism, and U.S. Foreign Policy.

A short article in which I debunk the rationalizations for her vote I’ve been hearing from some of her supporters and make the case as to why it should disqualify her (and anyone else who supported the war, regardless of party or gender) from becoming president: The Worst Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq.

A short article examining her opposition to the International Criminal Court, including advocating military force to free U.S. citizens and those of allied nations held by or on behalf of the ICC : Hillary Clinton’s Strident Opposition to the International Criminal Court.

A detailed look at Hillary Clinton’s policies on Israel/Palestine, her support for Israel’s right-wing government and its policies and her defense of Israeli war crimes, highlighting her outspoken opposition to the ruling by the International Court of Justice that Israel, like all countries, needs to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention in occupied territories:  What We Can Expect from Hillary Clinton on Israel/Palestine.

An important article exposing her support for Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and her questionable ties to the Moroccan monarchy and the mining company illegally exploiting phosphates in the occupied territory: Hillary Clinton, Phosphates, and Western Sahara.

And this article looks at the implication of her letter in opposition to one of the major organizing efforts against the Israeli occupation, in which she implies critics of Israeli policies are “anti-Semitic:” The Troubling Implications of Hillary’s Anti-BDS Letter

Please feel free to pass these on to those who may be interested an invite them to contact me about being on my email list.

You can find additional articles of mine and information about me at:

Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics & Coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco (2130 Fulton St. San Francisco, CA 94117)


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