While serving as U.S. secretary of state from 2009–13, Hillary Clinton used her family’s private e-mail server rather than her government account for official e-mail communications. The State Department became aware of this while investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya, and Clinton’s knowledge of the security situation at the time. Once the e-mail controversy became public knowledge in 2015, various Freedom of Information Act lawsuits were filed against the State Department and Clinton, leading the department to release thousands of her e-mails in batches.
E-mails released in August and September 2015 offer interesting insight into U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. While there are countless declassified e-mails dealing with the issue, two are particularly noteworthy. The first offers advice on how to deal with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the e-mail, Martin Indyk, the former ambassador to Israel and founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (who later led a team of negotiators to restart peace talks under Secy. of State John Kerry), says: “Put your arms around Bibi: he still thinks we are out to bring him down. There is no substitute for working with him, even though he makes it such a frustrating process.”
The second e-mail provides further evidence of the growing fear of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement among supporters of Israel in the U.S. administration, including Clinton. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as Clinton’s director of policy planning at the State Department, forwarded a June 2011 op-ed by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker. In the e-mail, Slaughter points Clinton’s attention to Walker’s description of her ex-husband, a Jewish civil rights lawyer, and warns that the BDS movement will “grow and grow.”
Featured below are excerpts of the Indyk and Slaughter e-mails. All publicly released e-mails are available at foia.state.gov.