The New Yorker | Hillary’s running for President

Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is  a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are  worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual  Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.

A word about the scene: Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media and  entertainment mogul, has for the past nine years been hosting a conference,  sometimes in Jerusalem, more often in Washington, focussed on the Middle East.  The attendees are mainly government officials, present and former; business  people; institute-niks; a few reporters. There are very few Arabs; this year the  most notable exception was Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian  Authority, though he didn’t stick around long, since the Palestinian Authority,  thanks in large measure to Israel, is in grave peril, losing ground all the time  to Hamas. Except for a few events, Chatham House rules obtain: meaning the  official events are off the record. The presumption is that the incidental  meetings are more important than the panels and speeches.

Friday night, however, was on the record—and surprisingly revealing. Hillary  Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was  greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video  Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all,  secretary of state. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the  trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu,  Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair,  striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just  have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”


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