A new trove of Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department tonight includes scathing opinions about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from close confidante Sidney Blumenthal — and an agreement in internet slang from Hillary.
Blumenthal was an aide to President Clinton and has been a longtime loyalist of the Clinton family, so fiercely loyal that he wasn’t welcome in any State Department position in the Obama administration. He went to work for the Clinton Foundation and has been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on Benghazi to testify about his communication with Clinton in his time period.
His analysis, suggestions and advice show up regularly in the official State Department correspondence conducted on Clinton’s private email server.
A number of the latest emails from 2010 center on the Gaza flotilla raid. Israeli commandos boarded the “Freedom Flotilla” to force the ships to port for inspection. A few dozen of the hundreds on board fought the commandos; 10 activists were killed and 10 of the Israeli commandos were wounded.
In an email to Clinton that day — May 31, 2010 — Blumenthal called the incident “Bibi’s Entebbe in reverse.”
“The father, Benzion Netanyahu; 100 years old, secretary to Jabotinsky, and denounced as too radical by Begin, adored his son Yoni, heroically killed at Entebbe. Benyamin has never measured up,” Blumenthal wrote. “Benzion has constantly criticized him in public for his deviations from the doctrine of Greater Israel. Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother. See Benzion’s most recent scathing undermining of his son Bibi and Bibi’s tearful tribute to his brother just last month.”
“The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe, except that there are no hostages, no guns, it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe. (Then, there’s Ehud Barak reliving his youth as a raider killing Palestinians in Lebanon, a feat memorialized in Spielberg’s film, Munich. Ultimately, it didn’t work out well that time either. The film captures the moral quandaries, which appear to have escaped the participants.)”
Blumenthal goes on to write, “The international press will inquire whether the Obama administration gave a wink or nod as the Bush administration did for the Lebanon and Gaza incursions. Be prepared.”
“Further: Of course, the consequences for US foreign policy and national security are negative across the board: from the analogy of the North Korean ship sinking and the Chinese posture to support for Iranian sanctions, etc., etc. Did the Israelis not hear Petraeus’s testimony?”
Blumenthal added that “of course, whatever the outcome of such a raid, one of the inevitable ones would be the death of the peace process, such as it is, on the very eve of Bibi’s scheduled visit to Obama, which would have been, under any circumstance, in light of the raid, profoundly humiliating for the president. Or are the Israelis bone stupid? I don’t think so.”
Hillary forwarded the email 35 minutes later to Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff at the State Department and director of policy planning. He is believed to be Clinton’s pick for national security advisor.
“Fyi and itys,” Clinton tells Sullivan. The latter is Internet slang for “I told you so.”
Blumenthal sent other messages to Clinton after the flotilla raid, including a Max Blumenthal column on “deconstruction of propaganda” by Israel, a Center for Strategic and International Studies piece titled “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” and “leaked” Netanyahu poll numbers.
Much of the internal State Department correspondence about the flotilla is redacted.