It seems that Hillary Clinton has a position paper on Israel and Israel-related issues coming out that says she "believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned." This is, obviously, a disaster. No division of Jerusalem is fine as an Israeli negotiating posture, but it's absurd for the President of the United States to make this a baseline commitment. Simply put, it doesn't matter to Americans exactly how the Jerusalem issue is resolved, and our emphasis needs to be on supporting whatever kind of compromise the parties to the conflict can agree upon.

Now, needless to say, I don't think anyone thinks Clinton really believes this. As M.J. Rosenberg points out, her husband's parameters involved sharing Jerusalem as would any realistic plan. She's not a crazy person, and surely she realizes this. But, of course, the odds of actually achieving a settlement go down when leading American figures make these kind of statements that wreck their credibility as honest brokers. Similarly, Palestinian moderates are left hanging out to dry when American leaders give the impression that they have no intention of acting in a reasonable and impartial manner even if Palestinians change their behavior. And last, of course, the sort of addiction to the politics of pandering to You Know Who that this reflects doesn't bode well for Clinton's approach to this issue in practice no matter how sound her instincts may be in principle.

Photo by Flickr user Bernie CB used under a Creative Commons license

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