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Guilty by association: Do the Clooneys 'heart' Israel? Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

Guilty by association: Do the Clooneys 'heart' Israel?

Oops: Could 'pro-Palestinian' human rights activist-lawyer Amal Clooney be lobbying for Israel soon? [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2016

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Shocker: The world's most famous 'human-rights champion' couple George and Amal Clooney are throwing a party for Hillary Clinton at their mansion, co-hosted with hardcore Israel supporter, mogul Haim Saban.
A Hollywood celebrity couple is co-hosting a $34,300-a-person fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with hardcore supporter of Israel and enemy of nonviolent resistance against occupation Haim Saban.

There isn't much out of the ordinary there, except... the couple is none other than self-proclaimed champions of the poor and oppressed, George and Amal Clooney.

The Clooneys are known for pontificating on various issues touching the lives of vulnerable people, from racist rhetoric, the need for diversity in hollywood and LGBTQ rights, to climate change, freedom of speech and conflicts.

But the Hollywood superstar and his activist-lawyer Lebanese British wife seem to be making one omission from the list of issues they care about: the plight of the Palestinian people, who have been living under a brutal occupation for decades.

On April 16, the Clooneys will hold a high-priced, pro-Hillary Clinton fundraiser at their mansion alongside co-host Haim Saban - a fervent Israel supporter who has called for Muslim Americans to be deprived of key civil rights protections and for the United States to consider ruthlessly bombing Iran, according to Alternet.
There is something a tad bit contradictory between shedding tears for the famine-stricken people of Darfur, and hosting a millionaire-or-billionaire-only gala at a multi-million-dollar mansion.
This is a triple whammy of inconsistency and House of Cards-style hypocrisy for George and Amal.

First, there is something a tad bit contradictory between shedding tears for the famine-stricken people of Darfur, and hosting a millionaire-or-billionaire-only gala at a multi-million-dollar mansion.

Unlike the supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders (his record on Palestine is better than Clinton's, incidentally) who are mostly ordinary Americans, Clinton supporters like Clooney tend to be filthy rich celebrities, bankers, Wall Street executives and (shady) foreign oligarchs - including Arab sheikhs.

Bernie Sanders has already slammed the fundraisers as an example of "big money dominating our political system".

Second, Clinton herself is really a Republican-lite candidate rather than a Democratic candidate.

Even if we put the question of Palestine aside, where she unequivocally supports Israel, its right-wing prime minister included, she is a hawk on almost every issue the Clooneys purport to support.
I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.
- Haim Saban
The coup de grâce, however, has to be their association with Saban.

Haim Saban paid Clinton millions of dollars in donations, prompting her to write a letter to Saban in which she pledged to "work together" to defeat the growing BDS movement to win human rights and self-determination for Palestinians.

In 2010, Haim Saban told the New Yorker: "I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel." 

In the lead-up to the nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, Saban declared: "If the government of Israel comes to the conclusion that the deal signed puts Israel's security at risk, I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bit****."

Saban recently purchased a stake in The Onion, raising concerns this could mean the satirical newspaper could tone down both its mockery of Clinton and Israeli atrocities.

While we could not fault George for associating with such a vile figure (he might plausibly plead ignorance), what is once-pro-Palestinian Amal Alamuddin Clooney's excuse?

Not long ago, there were reports she was considering joining a team of inquiry into Israeli war crimes, followed by rumours George pressured her not to take the post to avoid "embarrassing" him.

At any rate, consistency is not the Clooneys' strongest suit.

To paraphrase Baron Acton, fame tends to corrupt, and absolute fame corrupts absolutely.

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