On 2 July, billionaire Haim Saban, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, released a letter from Hillary Clinton regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Saban has stated in many interviews that he is “a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel;” he also is a top Democratic Party donor who has advanced his policy goals by founding the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Ahead of Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, he has also contributed upward of $2 million to her super PAC.
In the letter, Clinton seeks Saban’s advice on how to make opposition to BDS a bipartisan issue. The letter was written shortly after the first federal anti-BDS provision was signed into law by President Barack Obama in June. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (see H.R. 1314 and H.R. 2146 at congressionalmonitor.org), or “fast track” authority, includes a provision discouraging “politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” as a “principal negotiation objective” of the U.S. in its negotiations with the European Union over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Clinton’s letter to Saban echoes the growing anti-BDS sentiment in U.S. political circles, where increasingly hostile measures are being introduced by both state and federal legislatures.