Hillary Clinton has been compared to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in her radical right views about the Middle East. (U.S. Department of State)

Is Hillary Clinton choosing the nation of Israel over her church?

According to The Electronic Intifada, the Democratic presidential candidate condemned the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in a letter to two people from Israel lobby organizations this week. Her letter, dated Sunday, was a response to a joint letter from David Sherman, chairman of the Israel Action Network, and Susan Stern, vice chairwoman of the Jewish Federations of North America. Clinton assured them that she opposed a divestment resolution at the 11-day United Methodist Church General Conference, which began Tuesday in Portland, Ore.

The Methodist conference meets every four years to “make policy decisions and set the direction for the denomination,” the Religion News Service reports. This year, proposals up for vote include divestment from three companies that profit from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The companies are Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard.

Before the Methodist vote, Sherman and Stern asked Clinton, a lifelong Methodist, to “speak out forcefully against the divisive and destructive BDS movement.”

Clinton obliged. Here is her full letter:

Dear David and Susie:

Thank you for your letter, and for your organizations’ continued leadership in confronting so many of the important issues and challenges our world faces.

More than three decades ago, my husband, Bill, and I took our first trip to Israel, walked the ancient streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, and fell in love with the country and its people. Israel became a special place for us, and I am lucky to have had many opportunities to return and to make many dear friends there over the years.

As Senator and Secretary of State, I saw how crucial it is for America to defend Israel at every turn. I have opposed dozens of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, the Human Rights Council, and other international organizations. I condemned the biased Goldstone Report, making it clear that Israel must be allowed to defend itself like any other country. And I made sure the United States blocked Palestinian attempts at the UN to unilaterally declare statehood. Time after time, no matter the venue, I have made it clear that America will always stand up for Israel. If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, the United States will reaffirm we have a strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security.

It is because of my longstanding commitment to the Israeli people and to the security of Israel that I am writing to express my opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement, or “BDS,” the global effort to isolate the State of Israel by ending commercial and academic exchanges. I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority, and that we need to work together—across party lines and with a diverse array of voices—to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel. It would be a serious mistake for the United States to abandon our responsibilities, or cede the mantle of leadership for global peace and security to anyone else. The Jewish state is a modern day miracle—a vibrant bloom in the middle of a desert—and we must nurture and protect it.

I believe that BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict. This is not the path to peace. I remain convinced that Israel’s long-term security and future as a Jewish state depends on having two states for two peoples. But that can only be achieved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians; it cannot be imposed from the outside or by unilateral actions. As Secretary of State, I convened the last round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders; I know how hard this will be, but it is an effort to which I would be committed as president.

Israel is a vibrant democracy in a region dominated by autocracy, and it faces existential threats to its survival. Fighting for Israel isn’t just about policy; it is a personal commitment to the friendship between our peoples and our vision for peace and security. Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society—not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere. We must never tire in defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, and taking our alliance to the next level.

Please know that I am grateful for your work, and that I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith—regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics—in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

This letter isn’t the first time she has denounced BDS. In July 2015, Clinton wrote to Haim Saban and expressed “alarm” over BDS. Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and billionaire Hollywood mogul, is one of Clinton’s top donors. His goal, as Truthdig contributor Sandy Tolan reported in his Clinton profile for our “Beholden” series, is to shut down BDS.

On Tuesday, Israel denied a travel permit to Omar Barghouti, a BDS movement founder, and said “his residency rights in Israel are currently being reconsidered,” Common Dreams reports.

The Methodist Church already opposes Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands, so time will tell how much impact Clinton’s letter will have on the divestment vote at the Methodist conference. But some reporters, like Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, think her hard-line support for Israel and hawkish views on the Middle East may alienate some people who believe the fight for social justice does not exclude Palestinians.

—Posted by Eric Ortiz

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.