A decade-old audio tape has emerged exposing Hillary Clinton of suggesting the U.S. should have manipulated Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.
The blockbuster audio featured then-Senator Clinton speaking to the Jewish Press, a New York-based weekly newspaper, in September 2006, the Observer reported. Clinton spoke about the election for the second Palestinian Legislative Council which took place in January of that year, resulting in a victory for Hamas, a group which remains on the State Department’s official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
“I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” Clinton said. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”
Eli Chomsky, who was an editor and a staff writer for the Jewish Press, had conducted the interview with Clinton in the publication’s Brooklyn office. Chomsky’s private audio tape was the only existing copy of that interview, which he shared with the Observer.
Chomsky told the Observer that although Clinton was “gracious, personable and pleasant throughout” the interview, she did make some “odd and controversial comments” on the 45-minute tape.
Clinton’s comments left Chomsky disconcerted that “anyone could support the idea—offered by a national political leader, no less—that the U.S. should be in the business of fixing foreign elections.”
Other comments Clinton made in that decade-old interview seem relevant given the current political climate and her repeated attacks on Donald Trump for his remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“You know, I’m pretty much of the mind that I don’t see what it hurts to talk to people. As long as you’re not stupid and giving things away,” she said.
“But if you say, ‘they’re evil, we’re good, we’re never dealing with them,’ I think you give up a lot of the tools that you need to have in order to defeat them” she said later in the tape. “So I would like to talk to you [the enemy] because I want to know more about you. Because if I want to defeat you, I’ve got to know something more about you. I need different tools to use in my campaign against you. That’s my take on it.”
Chomsky told the Observer he kept the tape “all these years” even though his employer at the time did not think there was anything newsworthy in the interview.
“I went to my bosses at the time,” Chomsky said. “The Jewish Press had this mindset that they would not want to say anything offensive about anybody—even a direct quote from anyone—in a position of influence because they might need them down the road. My bosses didn’t think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years.”
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