Does Clinton blame Netanyahu for rise of Trump?

Ex-president thinks Brexit and current US nationalism have their roots in the Rabin assassination and incitement that preceded it.

Guy Cohen, JTA ,

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton cited on Thursday the incitement against Yitzhak Rabin, prior to his assassination, as the forerunner of increased nationalist sentiment worldwide today. Since Binyamin Netanyahu has been consistently blamed by the Israeli left wing for inciting the Rabin assassination, Clinton could be seen as pointing his finger at Netanyahu, among other elements, although he did not say anything explicit to that effect.

In remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, on the occasion of a book launch for former Israeli ambassador Itamar Rabinovich’s “Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman,” the former US president said that Rabin was subjected to a “relentless assault on his legitimacy” that presaged the political battles raging around the world today.

There were even two rabbis who purported to come up with religious justifications that would permit the murder of another Jew by a Jew if they were no longer a good Jew, much less a good Israeli,” Clinton said, repeating leftist allegations. “We all know that he was portrayed once, more than once, in Nazi uniform. There were lots of other efforts, lots of other things to delegitimize, delegitimize, delegitimize” Clinton's mention of the rabbis is the repetition of a canard and the Nazi uniform portrayal was later shown to be the work of a provocateur, Avishai Raviv.

Derailing the Oslo process

The Israeli left wing has often pointed to flyers with Rabin's image in SS uniform that were handed out in a demonstration against Rabin in Jerusalem, in which Netanyahu addressed the crowd. The demonstration was held on October 5, 1995, one month before the murder. However, these flyers were handed out by Avishai Raviv, a man who was later exposed as a Shin Bet agent provocateur, and were not sanctioned by Netanyahu.

Yigal Amir, a young Jew from Herzliya, murdered Rabin in the apparent hope of derailing the Oslo Process. As prime minister, Rabin had led Israel into the process, which involved allowing the PLO leadership into Judea, Samaria and Gaza and providing it with arms. This move later resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis in terror attacks.

As the world has grown more interdependent, these identity conflicts have become more intense,” said Clinton, who was president at the time of Rabin's murder. “Once you get into an ‘us and them’ world, then of course nobody should live under the same set of rules, we should have a better set of rules that work for us and not for somebody else.”

Pan-national conspiracy?

Clinton did not name President Donald Trump, who defeated his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the November presidential election. But he appeared to allude to the outlook expressed by Stephen Bannon, Trump’s top strategic adviser, who has spoken of an alliance of economic nationalists who seek to keep immigrants out of their countries.

Rabin’s assassination “prefigured the battle that is raging across the world,” Clinton said, citing the current American political climate as one example, and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as another. The period around the assassination was a “microcosm” of what is occurring today, he said.

People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within national borders all over the world,” Clinton said. “It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once — and it is an inevitable consequence of the economic and social changes that have occurred at an increasingly