Speaking at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, Hillary Clinton mostly towed the party line, offering nearly unequivocal support for Israel. The presidential candidate also managed to throw in a few jabs at her potential general election opponent Donald Trump for good measure.
Clinton asserted that the U.S. doesn’t need “a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday because everything is negotiable.” That was a direct shot at Trump, who has claimed that he is extremely pro-Israel but also said he would be a “neutral guy” in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on account of his desire to make a deal.
Clinton offered plenty of red meat to the assembled crowd. She consistently reaffirmed her belief that the United States should support Israel, specifically mentioning the need to arm the state’s military with the latest and greatest weapons and equipment.
“The United States will reaffirm that we have a strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security,” she said. “We will never allow Israel’s adversaries to think that a wedge can be driven between us.”
In a moment that drew rapturous applause, Clinton said that one of her first acts as president would be to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. This was clearly an attempt to separate herself from her former boss, President Barack Obama, who has had a tense relationship with Netanyahu. Though the substantive portion of the Israeli-American relationship has remained mostly unchanged, the two leaders have had stark disagreements over issues like the Iran nuclear deal and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Clinton also took time to criticize the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS looks to isolate Israel culturally and financially and, in doing so, pressure the Israeli government to ease its policies towards Palestinians. Supporters compare the group to the the anti-apartheid movement aimed at South Africa in the 1980s, while detractors claim it is anti-Semitic.
The three Republicans running for President — Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Gov. John Kasich — will address the AIPAC conference on Monday evening. Clinton’s Democratic rival Bernie Sanders declined to speak at the event, citing previous commitments in the West.