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Daily Israel Report

Report: Clinton Also Criticized Israel's Foreign Policy

In her remarks at the Saban Forum, Clinton criticized Netanyahu for not apologizing to Turkey over Marmara incident.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/5/2011, 4:15 AM

Clinton speaking at Saban Forum
Clinton speaking at Saban Forum
US State Department

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not only criticize what she claimed are Israel’s “anti-democratic” proposals in her address to the Saban Forum in Washington, but also criticized Israel’s foreign relations, Channel 10 reported on Sunday.

According to the report, Clinton said in her remarks on Saturday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been wrong when he refused to apologize to Turkey following the Gaza flotilla in May of 2010.

Turkey demanded that Israel apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals onboard the Mavi Marmara. The Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli soldiers who boarded the Gaza-bound ship were forced to open fire after being attacked by the activists on board with clubs and knives.

Netanyahu refused to apologize for the incident, and Turkey responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with Israel.

According to the Channel 10 report, Clinton criticized Netanyahu’s decision, saying that by choosing not to apologize he had lost the profits which could have been gained from continuing the strategic alliance with Turkey. The report said that Clinton made her remarks in a closed forum because she was sure that her comments would not leak out.

Earlier on Sunday it was reported that in her remarks, Clinton had also alleged that Israel is showing signs of becoming anti-democratic because of a recent bill proposing limits on foreign funding of local NGOs and for allegedly trying to exclude women from public life in Israel.

Clinton picked on several Jerusalem buses, used mainly by hareidi-religious passengers who prefer separate seating for men and women as a matter of modesty. She claimed the issue is “reminiscent of Rosa Parks,” referring to a black woman who refused to give up her seat to white passengers in the United States in the 1950s.

She also jumped on the issue of requests from hareidi-religious soldiers to be excused from IDF events in which a woman is singing, which is considered by many to be a violation of the laws of modesty when performed in mixed company. She claimed the request reminds her of Iran.

Clinton’s remarks were criticized by some of the Israeli MKs, who suggested that she mind her own business.