Hillary Clinton shouldn't mention Israel in her campaign's launch speech because it wouldn't play well with Democratic Party activists, several top campaign advisers agreed last year.
The discussion, contained in the latest batch of hacked emails from campaign chairman John Podesta, took place in May 2015, as Clinton advisers were working on the candidate's launch speech and the language that would become her stump speech.
Wikileaks posted the exchange online. The U.S. director of national intelligence and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security have accused "Russia’s senior-most officials" of hacking and leaking emails to influence the 2016 election.
While discussing Clinton’s launch speech, Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton's foreign policy advisers, suggested adding "a sentence on standing up for our allies and values, including Israel and other fellow democracies."
Mandy Grunwald, a speechwriter, replied: "I thought this was largely for her TP [talking points] with public events not fundraisers. Do we need Israel etc for that?"
Sullivan responds: "We def need the etc. I think good to have Israel too."
Joel Benenson, a leading pollster who worked for the Obama campaigns, agreed with Grunwald on avoiding mention of Israel.
His comments were followed by those of Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, who said that the party's liberal base would be alienated by pro-Israel rhetoric: "I'm w Joel. We shouldn't have Israel at public events. Especially dem activists."
After more back and forth, the campaign agreed not to include pro-Israel language in public speeches. "She can drop in Israel when she's with donors," speechwriter Dan Schwerin concluded.
In a 2013 paid speech that had not been previously disclosed, Clinton said that in order "to be successful, politically … you need both a public and a private position" on controversial issues.
Polls show declining support for Israel among political progressives and liberal Democrats.