Over the past few months, Clinton has done her typical due diligence reaching out towards a reliably Democratic constituency, writing op-eds in Jewish Journal and The Forward about her personal commitment to the security of Israel, the fight against ISIS, how to punish Iran should it violate the landmark nuclear deal, and why she opposes the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" movement. In December, she discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship at a Brookings forum sponsored by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American entertainment mogul who has given millions to her campaigns. Her top campaign staff held an event for Jewish donors around the White House Hanukkah reception. And on Thursday, the Clinton campaign named a new director of Jewish outreach, Sarah Bard.
While there's daylight between Sanders and Clinton on gun control, health care, education, and how to tackle income inequality, among other domestic issues, some Jews supporting Clinton cite her experience in global affairs as her trump card in the primary. She has managed to lock down Jewish Democrats who both support and oppose the divisive Iran nuclear deal, making the argument that she is the best one to enforce it.
The pitch has been, according to a Clinton aide, that the next president can’t rip up the deal on Day One—as some Republicans have promised—because Iran would get the economic relief and be under no constraints. But, the aide continued, “You also don’t want someone who doesn’t have experience dealing with the complexities of these issues, somebody who is going to think that it’s a new day for Iran [and] we can normalize relations." That argument was reinforced again by Clinton in Iowa on Thursday and in a campaign call to the press Thursday afternoon. Sanders recently put up a new ad broadcasting his foreign policy vision, calling for an “international coalition with Muslim boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, touting his vote against the Iraq war, and declaring that he would “end the quagmire of perpetual warfare in the Middle East.”
In an interview with National Journal, Rabinowitz ripped Sanders for recently advocating to move aggressively toward normalizing relations with Iran and his position in favor of Iran sending ground forces into Syria as part of a Muslim coalition against ISIS. "Bernie was a little wack on all but wanting to normalize relations with Iran and wanting to see Iranian ground troops in Syria,” he said. "Like really? Really? Holy crap.”
"On foreign policy, [Clinton has] been great on not just Israel but on issues of concern to the Jewish community globally,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, an honorary co-chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council who opposes the Iran deal. “Secretary Clinton has a background that is truly unique. Her experience as secretary of State, her experience in the United States Senate on foreign policy issues—so she has a track record and experience that no other candidate can match on either side.”