Clinton Calls For Return To "Constructive" U.S.-Israel Relationship

The former secretary of state's first thoughts on Israel since Netanyahu's election appeared Sunday night — in a third-person press release from someone else. "She did know I would release the statement."

On Sunday evening, Hillary Clinton made her first public comments on U.S.-Israel relations since the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for a return to "constructive footing" and "basic shared concerns and interests," including a two-state solution.

But the statement, phrased in an indirect third-person, was not issued by her personal office — or by the fledgling campaign team still setting up shop in New York ahead of her official launch, expected next month.

The press release came from Malcolm Hoenlein, the leader of an association of American Jewish organizations, who described in broad strokes the views Clinton expressed during a phone conversation the two had on Sunday afternoon.

Hoenlein said in an email that he initiated the call — and requested to make the details public.

"She did know I would release the statement," said Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Clinton, according to the press release, "thinks we need to all work together to return the special U.S.-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."

"We must ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue," Hoenlein added.

The 49-word statement from Clinton, by way of Hoenlein, is as much the former secretary of state has said about Israel since the country's election, Netanyahu's statements ruling out a two-state solution and warnings about Arabs voting in the days before that election, or his contentious speech to Congress last month. Clinton has only appeared at small handful of public events this month.

Hoenlein did not respond to a question about whether Clinton or members of her staff had reviewed the language in the press release ahead of time.

Asked about the conversation with Hoenlein on Sunday night, a Clinton spokesperson, Nick Merrill, said only, "He called, she took it, they talked."