Kosher Clinton: How Israel Got Buddy At State

Still, some experts—particularly dovish ones—aren’t so sure that as secretary of state, she’d be locked into the posture she maintained, rigidly, for the past eight years as a senator.

“In New York, it’s Irish, Italians and Israel. When you are no longer senator of New York, the things that are going to pull you are going to be different,” said Steven Clemons, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “One of the most interesting questions is, what is Hillary Clinton’s makeover going to look like? Because Obama sure is different. I guarantee you [defense secretary] Bob Gates will look different under the Obama team than he did under Bush. For anybody to think that she is not going to become Hillary 3.0, I think, is making a serious mistake.”

Ori Nir, a spokesperson for Americans for Peace Now, said, “She is working for a president who is coming in with a very clear mandate and a very clear program. And she will have to implement that program together with a team that we believe is very popular on this issue, including General Jones.” 

(General Jim Jones, Mr. Obama’s nominee for national security adviser, is widely seen in the foreign policy community as the member of the Obama foreign policy team most willing to push Israel to freeze settlements and make other compromises.)

The Obama camp, naturally, has been quick to dismiss any notion of differing views toward Israel among the key players on the team.

“She and Obama will be working hand-in-glove for foreign policy objectives in the Middle East and elsewhere,” said Mel Levine, a former congressman who advised Mr. Obama on Middle East issues during the campaign. “The combination of these two is something that the world will welcome.”

Martin Begun, a veteran of New York politics and the former president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, suggested that perhaps, after years of arguing, it was time to put the question of whether Hillary Clinton is good for the Jews to bed, for good.

“There are people who are always challenging where people come from,” he said. “If anyone in Israel is concerned about where she is and where she is coming from, I think they need a good drink.”

jhorowitz@observer.com