Hillary Clinton attacks her church over Israel divestment vote

Hillary Clinton attends a campaign rally at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 6 April. (Nathaniel F)

As the United Methodist Church prepares to vote on divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation in Palestine, Hillary Clinton has penned a letter condemning the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Democratic presidential frontrunner and lifelong Methodist was responding to a joint letter from two leaders of major Israel lobby organizations – David Sherman, chairperson of the Israel Action Network, and Susan Stern, vice-chair of the Jewish Federations of North America – urging her to “speak out forcefully against the divisive and destructive BDS movement” ahead of the Methodist vote.

“Your voice is very much needed this week,” they wrote.

The vote is set to take place during the quadrennial United Methodist Church General Conference, which begins today in Portland, Oregon.

The church delegates will be voting on four proposals to divest from three companies that profit from Israel’s occupation: Caterpillar, Motorola and HP.

Supporters of Palestinian rights have reasons for optimism. In January, the UMC voted to divest its $20 billion pension fund from Israeli banks in accordance with its ethical investment policy.

The United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA have also divested from companies complicit in Israel’s occupation – despite strenuous opposition from anti-Palestinian groups including the Israel Action Network.

“BDS seeks to punish”

Whether Clinton’s letter makes an impact has yet to be seen, but given the momentum behind church divestment efforts, it is unlikely to have much influence.

Neverthless, Clinton wasted no time no time in responding with her usual over-the-top pandering.

“The Jewish state is a modern day miracle — a vibrant bloom in the middle of a desert — and we must nurture and protect it,” Clinton writes in her letter.

BDS is “counterproductive,” “seeks to punish Israel” and is “harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike,” she continues, ignoring the fact that the movement is spearheaded by the BDS National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition.

“This is not the path to peace,” Clinton insists.

So what is the path to peace? For Clinton, it consists of “defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties and taking our alliance to the next level.”

Clinton also implies that BDS, and by extension her own church if it votes to divest, is anti-Semitic, saying, “we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society — not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere.”

Reading Clinton’s letter, it is easy to forget that United Methodist Church is voting on divestment from three enormously profitable American companies which make a killing off an occupation that denies basic rights to millions of Palestinians based solely on their ethnicity.

And it is made possible by unconditional support from US politicians like Clinton.

Billionaire kingpins

To be fair, Clinton was simply fulfilling her promise to billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, who has donated over $6 million to her presidential campaign and has openly stated that his number-one objective is influencing US policy in Israel’s favor.

Last year, Clinton wrote a letter to Saban vowing “to make countering BDS a priority” if she wins the presidency.

The former secretary of state also attacked the student left during her speech to the powerful Israel lobby group AIPAC, calling BDS activism on college campuses “alarming.”

Saban’s support is an example of how Clinton has become the flag-bearer for the most pro-Israel elements in the Democratic Party. Even as the party’s liberal base becomes increasingly sympathetic to Palestinians, Clinton won’t budge.

Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, does not necessarily support BDS.

But he has expressed no interest in obstructing it and has advocated for Palestinian rights more forcefully than any major presidential candidate in recent memory – a likely response to his progressive base, which is full of BDS proponents.

Sanders, perhaps not coincidentally, has relied entirely on small donors, eschewing the support of the millionaires and billionaires who fund Clinton’s campaign.

But given their current delegate counts in the ongoing primary races, Clinton will almost certainly win the Democratic nomination and face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general election.

Trump stoked controversy earlier in his party’s primary battle when he pledged to be “neutral” in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

After relentless attacks, including from Clinton, he adopted a more right-wing position.

Last week, Trump called on Israel to build more settlements on Palestinian land.

All of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, are illegal under international law.

Two days later, he received the endorsement of pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the single biggest donor to the Republican Party.

Adelson is also a key ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a major financier of anti-Palestinian lobby groups.

Following a rare public conversation between Saban and Adelson in 2014, the moderator joked, “After the election in 2016, one of you will get me a private tour of the White House.”

It looks like he was right. The US presidential election is a horse race for billionaires – no matter which party loses in November, Israel wins.




I think the UMC needs to continue to divest. I don't see Hillary Clinton writing about the discrimination of LGBT ministers! This has been a seething issue for nearly 20 years.


I used to wonder how the German people allowed the treatment of the Jews without great protest.
But now I see it happening today with people like Hillary Clinton supporting the Israeli crimes against humanity.


Yes and claiming to be a Christan at the same time! It's disgusting.


Her church is doing the right thing in divesting of all Israel related holdings.

Hillary's attachment/loyalty to Israel and its criminal apartheid rule over the Palestinians is the #1 reason (of a list) of reasons, I will NOT vote for her.


Dear Secretary Clinton, I have long been a supporter of yours and will continue to be one if you are the Democratic nominee for President. I am, however, concerned over my interpretation of your opposition to BDS and what appears to be your unilateral support of Israel. I have been there and have seen the Israelis bulldozing the olive trees on Palestinian land to make room for more settlements.. I was there when two young teenage boys were murdered by Israeli soldiers because they were too close to the wall. I was there when a Palestinian man was dragged from his home in the middle of the night and died in custody two days later. The Israeli doctor said he did not die of natural causes. I talked with Palestinian Christians whose funding for a children's home, a senior center, and wages had been withheld for months. I brought back a rock from the home of a Palestinian Christian whose home had been destroyed. No, I am absolutely not in favor of terrorism by Palestinians; neither am I in favor of our giving billions of dollars annually to Israel when they continue these practices. We need to work for a solution that will benefit both sides. If boycott, divestment, and sanctions will help force an equitable solution, then we should not rule it out. Israel needs to know
they cannot continue these practices without consequences.


Then Mary Kay, how can you possibly even consider voting for a person who is 100% behind the incremental genocide of the Palestinian people ongoing for well-nigh 70 years now? I am at a loss to understand. I suggest you read "The General's Son" by Miko Peled, son of the Israeli general Matti Peled and watch him on Youtube.
Hillary Clinton is a warmonger (and delights in this), a totally corrupt individual concerned only with personal money and power.


The right to boycott stems from both the right of speech and the right of movement. If I say I do not plan to buy Israeli goods or buy from firms who make money by supporting the killing, kidnapping, confiscating, denouncing, starving of Palestinians and their homes and then walk past a store that sells HP computers, for instance, I am well within my rights.


How easily Trump knuckles under -- and now the Republicans have their ducks in a row.

But the optics against Sanders are overstated. Without the 'superdelegates' -- party hacks and luminaries who get votes to discourage radical change -- Sanders is not that far behind. That's why he continues to call on these poobahs to reflect the will of the voters who supported the party in the primaries.


Thank you Eric for your reply. Since Hillary & Donald are 2 sides of the same coin, we have all the more reason to support Bernie Sanders: to defeat Clinton in the remaining Primaries/Caucuses & go on to contest the Un-Democratic Convention. If the Democrats refuse to embrace Sanders as their candidate who can retain their party's leadership, then it is the party's loss; both parties in the traditional 2-Party system will have met their demise. Then it's time for a real change in the system & process of electing our President.
Now is the time to evaluate the positions of the remaining candidates & embrace the merits of Bernie Sanders' Independent movement: to unify (not divide into stereotyped groups) the residents of our country & create harmony instead of dischord; to restore dignity & reward working people with a reasonable standard of living; to require the non-working wealthy to pay their fair share for rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure & provide a foundation to support our regeneration; to regain our integrity in the world & be a role model for Peace & Wellness, not only for our sake but for our entire planet home. We must provide for our future or otherwise will not have a future.
Bernie Sanders is our only Wise Choice to lead US as President with First Lady Jane, PhD beside him in the White House. Sanders needs & wants our participation as he has said throughout his campaign: US not Me (or in other words: We not I; by the way, when you change the I to We, Illness becomes Wellness) We are in this together: the President is only one person & can not do anything single-handedly. Bernie welcomes our continued involvement; our movement has energized future leaders & rejuvenated apathetic citizens to realize we gain more dividends when we invest more of ourselves into the process.
Let's roll up our sleeves & get to work: get your Sanders ready to refinish the Cabinetry of our Federal Government & restore power to US, the people.


wow, if the Methodists adopt BDS (as they should), can they excommunicate Hillary?
dang, I want to see that! Methodist churches where I live are nothing like her...
maybe she needs to join a proper right-wing 'christian' church - they love her actions.

Rania Khalek

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Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.