What to do about BDS? Clinton campaign scrambled for advice in #PodestaEmails 31

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from the audience at the 2012 Saban Forum on U.S.-Israel relations gala dinner in Washington, November 30, 2012 © Mary F. Calvert
In an email chain beginning 21 June 2015, Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy advisor, seeks advice from career diplomat Stuart Eizenstat on how Clinton should deal with the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) targeting Israel.

Sullivan reaches out to Eizenstat: ”I was talking to HRC today about the idea of having her meet with some Jewish leaders later this week about BDS/delegitimization efforts.  Questions for you:
1. Good idea/bad idea?
2. Good timing/bad timing?
3. If good idea and timing, who would you include?”

Eizenstat, who serves as the US State Department’s Special Adviser for Holocaust Issues, responds positively, “Good idea and good time. But it is a very tricky issue, if you want to do anything more than have Hillary weigh-in against BDS.”

Eizenstat then offers a word of warning: ”Although I know Hillary is close to Haim Saban, his partnership with Sheldon Adelson, who has a Likud agenda, may not be the best offensive against BDS.”

He adds: ”Obviously, she should not in any way criticize this initiative, quite the contrary. But she should stress the critical importance of AVOIDING MAKING ISRAEL A PARTISAN ISSUE.”

Eizenstat, who in a March 2015 email boasted to Sullivan: “I have very deep connections to the State of Israel and to its elected officials and leading academics,” uses the exchange to reveal that he has done anti-BDS-related work for the Israeli government.

”The JPPI (Jewish People Policy Institute) which Dennis Ross and I co-chair has just done a massive study of BDS for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so I am steeped in the issue.”

The JPPI is a policy planning think tank based in Israel. Eizenstat then mentions he is directly meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu and his Cabinet.

“Jake, I am speaking at UJA [United Jewish Appeal] Tuesday and then meeting with Bibi and the Cabinet Sunday for JPPI. Please keep this as ‘close hold’ and not for circulation,” Eizenstat writes.

On June 23, 2015, Eizenstat forwards Sullivan a list, complete with contact details, of prominent religious, political and business personalities that Clinton should engage regarding the “delegitimization of BDS.”

Eizenstat also edits the draft of Hillary Clinton’s statement on the global movement.

“BDS is the latest attempt to delegitimize Israel in a global arena. Sadly, this has been tried for years at the UN and elsewhere. I reject such efforts and believe America must defend Israel at every turn.”

Clinton then recounts her many efforts stymying criticism of Israel, “I have opposed nearly 100 anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, Human Rights Council, and other international organizations. I fought the biased Goldstone Report… And I directed the US to veto the Palestinians’ effort to use the UN to unilaterally declare statehood. Time after time, no matter the venue, I have made it clear that America has Israel’s back.”

Clinton then offers a glimpse on just how far the fight against the BDS movement will extend, writing: ”So I am seeking your thoughts and recommendations on how leaders and communities across America can work together, in a united way, to counter BDS. From Congress and state legislatures to boardrooms and classrooms.”