Emails reveal Hillary Clinton’s anti-BDS meddling in Scotland film fest

Hillary Clinton with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2010.

Thaer Ganaim APA images

Recently released emails show that Hillary Clinton tried to intervene in a 2009 row over an Israeli donation to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, according to The Scotsman.

In May 2009, the festival had announced that it was returning a sum of just over $450 which it had been offered to pay for an Israeli filmmaker to attend.

Festival publicists stated at the time that it was “a mistake to accept the 300 [British pounds] from the Israeli embassy” following a campaign headed by major names in British cinema, including director Ken Loach.

According to the new revelations, Clinton was alerted to the issue by a university friend of her husband, former US President Bill Clinton.

Newspaper owner Brian Greenspun apparently sent press coverage of the festival’s decision to Clinton, who was US Secretary of State at the time, at the instigation of Bruce Ramer, a media industry lawyer and one-time president of the pro-Israel American Jewish Committee.

Greenspun, owner of the Las Vegas Sun, recently called Israel “one of the most loyal and dependable allies the United States has ever had — or will ever have” and called Iran “a country run by religious zealots, hell-bent on destroying Israel and any Western country that exhibits signs of a democracy in which women have rights and liberties along with men, where religious freedom is available to all people, and where peace is preferable to war.”

According to The Scotsman, Ramer wrote: “I hope you can enlist Hilary’s support (and please give her my personal best). We need, for many reasons, to have the US protest and condemn this outrageous boycott and to oppose the anti-Semitism inherent in it. The organizers of the festival must be convinced to reverse themselves.”

Now, with Hillary Clinton’s emails being published by court order as a result of controversy over her use of private communications while in office, we know that on 25 May 2009 she acted on the warning, writing:

Thanks for the headsup on this. We are working to decide the most effective way forward, and I’ll keep you informed. We have some good ideas as to what our govt can do, but we also want to see pressure from local people brought on the British and Scottish govts.

Can you and Bruce reach out to the community in London and Edinburgh to urge them to raise this w PM [Gordon] Brown and other govt officials? We’d like to see top down and bottom up pressure. Let me know what you think.

The message was copied to her then deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan; senior adviser Andrew Shapiro; and her spokesperson Philippe Reines.

Clinton’s attempt to meddle in Scottish affairs has been condemned by the Scottish Green Party. Its spokesperson commented to The Scotsman that:

Cultural boycotts are not censorship — they have an important role to play in expressing global political opposition to the illegal occupation of Palestine and the treatment of its people. The importance of such action is made all the clearer when we see that the US has been acting behind the scenes to pressurise other countries to interfere on behalf of the Israeli Government.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival declined to comment on the matter, according to The Scotsman.




Those of us who support Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States must act now to move her away from a commitment to Israel on every issue. After the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United it is impossible for any candidate to run a wholly honorable campaign, given that the sums of money are unlimited that outside parties can contribute and every candidate has to remain competitive with funds in order to win. That said, it is imperative that she win the Democratic nomination and the presidency. The Republicans are clearly committed to Netanyahu and Israel and Bernie Sanders is a known zionist, the Likud candidate for the Oval Office.


I have two "lines in the sand" re: any election choice for 2016.



Hillary Clinton fails both tests.

A vote is not an "obligation". No law says I must vote. Failure to vote is not a felony.

It is a (weak) expression of support for someone's policies.

In both the above there is no one who would condemn Israel for its war crimes,
crimes against humanity. No one would insist on eliminating all capacity for
the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other WMD's in Israel or face international
sanctions and embargo.

I refuse to support Hillary Clinton (or Bernie etc.). Other candidates may
be worse. Indeed. Must I vote for someone who has only murdered
200 Palestinians because others have murdered many more?

I did not vote in 2012. (No candidate passed my "lines
in the sand" above. It was certainly not "apathy"!!)

I will have to seek ways of meeting the disaster which would
be increased under Hillary Clinton (among others).

I realize that EI may not be permitted to endorse any candidate.
It is permitted--indeed it is encouraged-- to criticize any and
all future officeholders under Federal law.

I too was taught as I grew up, son of a political functionary, that
I have an obligation to vote. I was a child then and later a youth.
We must evaluate what we do with our "votes".

Personally I do not plan to vote for any candidate in 2016.

I shall continue my support for justice in the Middle East, for life,
and against warmaking internationally (drones, Ukraine, Yemen,
Syria etc.) in the continuation of a list of US crimes.

Maggie, I suspect your intentions are the best (by your comments
in these spaces). I urge you to leave your computer and sit down
with yourself and think through what you are doing. Do not
support candidates who commit their lives to creating hell in Palestine
and elsewhere in the world.

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


So, who are you going to vote for? One of the zionist Republicans or the zionist Bernie Sanders? I'm a liberal Democrat and I'm not going to vote for a man like Sanders who once lived on a kibbutz and is on every list of members of Congress who are dual citizens of Israel. He's the Likud candidate for the presidency. He vigorously defends the Israeli brutal assaults on the defenseless Gazans. He vigorously presses for more and more US taxpayer dollars to go to fund Israel. He had a raging melt down (You Tube) at a VT town hall meeting when constituents criticized him for pressing the Congress to restock every bomb, missile, projectile, gas device and bullets the IDF used in the latest savage attack on Gaza, claiming Hamas was a terrorist organization sending "missiles" into Israel when we all know that it is permissible for an occupied people to resist their occupiers and that Palestinians have no "missiles", only crude unguided rockets which land with a thud.

No politician can criticize Israel and win with the AIPAC machine against them. Hillary learned her lesson on that as First Lady when she attended an international conference on women and children and spoke against the Israeli occupation's treatment of Palestinian women and children. Those comments threatened President Clinton's reelection.

She's not perfect on any issue but she's far above the Republicans and Bernie Sanders on Israel and the Palestinians.


I'd rather a republican than a Clinton. You can trust your enemies more than your fake friends. She's an ethics free zone. Just like bill.


If you think carefully, he's our greatest hope. We've had enough puppets, its time to give a muppet a try!

10 Highlights of his first term:
1) He will fire all our nukes at Venus--because that's where women are from. Nuclear free America!
2) He will declare Bankruptcy for our national debt--I mean the guy made a fortune declaring Bankruptcy--imagine what he'll do for us.
3) Hawaii will be returned to its rightful owners, the good people of Kenya.
4) No more 'Rogaine with Monoxadil' infomercials.
5) He will revisit all of our Agreements with other nations and finally 'win' at them.
6) He will save us millions in payouts to POWs because they aren't heroes, they just got caught.
7) His #Jesuischarlie initiative will be passed--in which we stop selling guns to dictators and instead gift them to french satirists.
8) The smug middle class republicans who frequent my wife's salon will stop making asinine jokes about their 'Mexican gardeners' because everyone, like everything, will be White or Black--it's what G-d intended.
9) As a consequence, after Louis Lowry's "Giver" takes our color vision, he will also take grey-scale to task. Who wouldn't like to read the sequel? Love that book.
10) John Stewart will be forced to return to the Daily Show--how could he not come back for this?


I will never vote for H.Clinton. During her campaign to be nominated the Democrats candidate she said" I will obliterated Iran if they attack Israel" Do we need more pro war presidents?


It's naive to think there will ever be a candidate who will not pay lip service to supporting Israel. You can't get elected in this country if AIPAC comes after you and funds your opposition with their unending stream of campaign money. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is a zionist who once lived on a kibbutz and who agitates endlessly for more and more taxpayer dollars to go to Israel. He vigorously defends Israel's savage attacks on the defenseless Gazans. He had a rage attack and threatened to call the police on constituents at a VT town hall meeting when they criticized his defense of Israel after that last onslaught on Gaza. Hillary Clinton may not be perfect, but she is the Democrat who can win. Electing Bernie Sanders is like electing the Likud candidate for the US presidency.

Sarah Irving

Sarah Irving's picture

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, author of a biography of Leila Khaled and of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, co-editor of A Bird is Not a Stone (a volume of Palestinian poetry translated into the languages of Scotland), and a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked and traveled in Palestine since 2001.