Mazel Tov, Hillary!
President-elect Barack Obama made it official Monday, naming former rival Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Since her name first surfaced, the idea of Clinton at Foggy Bottom has been greeted with enthusiasm among U.S. Jews and in Israel. While leftwing Democrats have fumed about the return of the reign of Clinton -- both her own and that of numerous advisors -- the reaction from Jews both here and abroad has been overwhelmingly positive.
During the Democratic primary campaign Clinton was a favorite among Jews both domestically and in Israel. During the campaign she often played the role of pro-Israel hard-liner while Obama hinted at a more "even-handed approach" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She attacked then-candidate Obama's willingness to meet unconditionally with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. She also criticized his opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. (He subsequently changed his stance in a speech before AIPAC after sewing up the nomination.) Clinton appeared in front of AIPAC in June trying to bolster her former opponent's pro-Israel bona fides.
That enthusiasm continued among conservative ranks once her name was put in play for the secretary of state position. Jewish Republicans ranging from former John McCain aide Michael Goldfarb to Henry Kissinger encouraged the nomination. Clinton, they perceived, would ensure President-elect Obama would follow a tougher foreign policy course, one which would be more inclined to support Israel's security concerns.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, stalwart defender of Israel and John McCain's staunch defender, had also urged the pick.