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Israel's future: Hillary Clinton's silence on Netanyahu's win speaks volumes

March 10, 2015: Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a news conference at United Nations headquarters.

March 10, 2015: Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a news conference at United Nations headquarters.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Following his election victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at length with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, and with President Obama, but there’s no sign that Netanyahu has heard from Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce soon that she will run for U.S. president.

This stands in stark contrast to several Republicans contemplating presidential bids who rushed to congratulate Netanyahu right after his “against all odds” win for his Likud Party.

Whether today or in the past, is that any way for a potential U.S. president to treat America’s closest friend in Whether today or in the past, is that any way for a potential U.S. president to treat America’s closest friend in the Middle East?

Clinton has been tweeting—although she’s shy about emailing—on all sorts of subjects. So, why, as the leading Democratic presidential possibility, has she not reached out to Netanyahu? Perhaps it’s to solidify her support from the Democratic Party, which has grown increasingly unsympathetic to Israel—influenced by President Obama and what The New York Times has called his “poisonous relationship” with Netanyahu.

Whether today or in the past, is that any way for a potential U.S. president to treat America’s closest friend in Whether today or in the past, is that any way for a potential U.S. president to treat America’s closest friend in the Middle East?

Clinton has called Netanyahu a “complicated figure” and admitted that, as secretary of state, “I was often the designated yeller,” browbeating Netanyahu as she represented the Obama administration’s insistence that Netanyahu make concessions to Israel’s enemies.

Whether today or in the past, is that any way for a potential U.S. president to treat America’s closest friend in the Middle East?

The Republican Party and its presumptive presidential candidates stand squarely behind Netanyahu and his efforts to keep Israel safe. But according to Alon Pinkas, who was Israel’s consul general in New York when Mrs. Clinton was New York’s U.S. senator,  “Her relationship with [Netanyahu] is very bad, just not as toxic as Obama’s.”

Clinton’s history with Netanyahu includes, as MSNBC.com pointed out that, “…longtime [Hillary] Clinton message guru Paul Begala went to Israel to help Netanyahu’s rival, and several strategists who worked for Barack Obama and could potentially join a Clinton campaign—led by field organizer Jeremy Bird—are working with a nonprofit that opposes Netanyahu. Clinton’s longtime pollster, Stan Greenberg, has worked for the opposition Labor Party in the past as well.”

But whatever reservations Clinton has about Netanyahu, she needs to go on the record (as her Republican counterparts have) about where she stands regarding what Megyn Kelly rightly referred to as an American-Israeli relationship that is “critical for both sides”—including a working relationship with Mr. Netanyahu.

For starters, as Kelly asked Netanyahu, does Clinton believe that the Obama administration risks “conceding too much” to Iran in negotiations over Iran’s development of its nuclear bomb capability? How does Clinton think Israel and Netanyahu are supposed to deal with Iran’s repeated vows to annihilate the Jewish state? If she were president, what demands would Clinton make on the Iranians in the nuclear negotiations? What does she think of reports that President Obama would bypass Congress for approval of a deal with Iran and instead try to implement all or part of an agreement using a United Nations Security Council vote? What does Clinton make of threats by the Obama administration to—as Kelly put it—“abandon Israel at the United Nations” to force the creation of a Palestinian state? By Clinton’s assessment, how can Netanyahu and Israel consent to a Palestinian state when the Palestinians are allied with the terror group Hamas and when this combined entity is dedicated to the destruction of Israel?

Clinton has said that her version of “smart power” to “advance peace and security” involves “showing respect, even for one’s enemies” while we “empathize with their perspective and point of view.”

But if Clinton aspires to be the leader of the free world, she needs to speak truth to her “smart power.” Before an Iranian deal is struck, she needs to break the silence of the lame and define how she would handle the Iranians and also address Netanyahu’s concerns about a nuclear holocaust for Israel.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.