The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

IN A call on July 27, 1997, Bill Clin­ton and Tony Blair dis­cussed Jewish film­maker Steven Spiel­berg ( Bill Clin­ton: Tony? Tony Blair: Hi, Bill. How are you? Clin­ton: Very well, in­deed. Blair: I am sit­ting here out­side Che­quers hav­ing a cup of tea with a friend of yours, Steven Spiel­berg. Clin­ton: Steven Spiel­berg? You are? You tell Mr Spiel­berg that you may be drink­ing tea with him, but I am here on the beach in Santa Mon­ica hav­ing coffee with [bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist] Ron Burkle, which shows Cal­i­for­nia has more in­flu­ence than ei­ther the Bri­tish or the US govern­ment. Blair: You are? Clin­ton: Yes. I am look­ing at peo­ple skate-board­ing at the beau­ti­ful beaches of Santa Mon­ica. Blair: You lucky man. This is your va­ca­tion, then? The con­ver­sa­tion con­tin­ues with the lead­ers dis­cussing Scot­tish de­vo­lu­tion and North­ern Ire­land. At the end of the call Pres­i­dent Clin­ton says: “Tell Steven Spiel­berg I hate com­ing all the way out here and not get to see him be­cause he is hang­ing out in Che­quers.” Blair: I will cer­tainly. Clin­ton: I al­ways sus­pected that be­neath that ruf­fled, in­tel­lec­tual de­meanor was a real Tory aris­to­crat work­ing. Blair: He is out here mak­ing a movie. Clin­ton: I know. I told you be­fore that he re­ally wants to help re­build the movie in­dus­try in Great Bri­tain be­cause he is so grate­ful for its in­flu­ence. He got a lot of in­put from early Bri­tish film mak­ers. Blair: Lots of pos­si­bil­i­ties here, but also im­por­tant to them that the US and the Bri­tish work closely, es­pe­cially be­cause some of the other coun­tries and some of the stuff from the EU is not very sen­si­ble. The French and the Ital­ians have weird rules and pre­scrip­tions on film mak­ing. It would help if we can get some de­cent Bri­tish movies. Clin­ton: You can do it. Tell him I said hello. Blair: All the best. We’ll be in touch.

A phone con­ver­sa­tion in Novem­ber 1997, as Mr Clin­ton flew on Air Force One, cen­tred on Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. Mr Clin­ton asked Mr Blair whether he had met Mr Ne­tanyahu in Lon­don.

“Yes I did,” replied Mr Blair. But his thoughts on the Is­raeli prime min­is­ter Steven Spiel­berg re­main a mys­tery as the rest of his an­swer is heav­ily redacted. All we have is Mr Clin­ton’s cryp­tic re­sponse: “I know what you mean.”


On hand: the hun­dreds of tran­scripts of calls be­tween Bill Clin­ton and Tony Blair re­veal the pair’s level of political co-op­er­a­tion — and friend­ship


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