Monday, January 29, 2007

Where Does Hillary Clinton Really Stand On Israel?

In an article about Hillary Clinton for the National Review back in May 2005, Rachel Zabarkes Friedman asks
...what does Clinton really think about the Arab-Israeli conflict? The truth is, it’s nearly impossible to know. Her past tells a very different story from her statements and record as junior senator from New York.
Friedman then proceeds to recall some forgotten episodes in Hillary Clinton's dealings.

o Back in 1998 Mrs. Clinton went beyond official U.S. policy at the time and declared her support for the creation of a Palestinian state in a remark that served to add pressure on Israel while leaving Palestinians off the hook.

o In 1999, there was the famous incident when Hillary Clinton caused a stir by exchanging kisses with Yasser Arafat’s wife right after Suha had given a speech accusing Israel of poisoning Palestinian women and children.

o In October 2000, Candidate Clinton announced that she was returning contributions that Muslim activist Abdurahman Alamoudi had made to her Senate campaign after Alamoudi had publicly declared, “We are all supporters of Hamas…. I am also a supporter of Hezbollah.” While Clinton reportedly cited “serious disagreements” with Alamoudi’s views as the reason, she defended her long-term involvement with him as part of the peace efforts of the Clinton administration. In 1996, after Alamoudi had both protested President Clinton's decision to meet with Salman Rushdie and had claimed that Hamas was not a terrorist group, Clinton had Alamoudi draw up the guest list for the official White House celebration of Ramadan that year.

In 2004, Alamoudi pled guilty to charges of taking part in a plot to assassinate a Saudi prince and laundering money from Libya, allegedly to fund terrorist groups.

According to The New York Daily News, Hillary Clinton--as First Lady--“held several White House Muslim holiday receptions to which individuals opposed to the Mideast peace process and Israel's existence were invited.”

o During the 1980's as chairman of the far-left New World Foundation, Hillary Clinton oversaw a grant of $15,000 to the organization Grassroots International--a group that funded two groups with close ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1992, this incident became known and Hillary Clinton denied having any knowledge of the money being “diverted” to groups affiliated with the PLO.

Friedman writes

But Clinton emphasized general-purpose grants during her chairmanship, meaning Grassroots may not have had to “divert” anything: She wrote in the board’s biennial report that under her watch the foundation had made “mostly general support grants, rather than project grants, so as to prove core support to organizers and advocates.” Even if the grant was project-specific, however, it probably would have just freed up other Grassroots money for the Palestinian groups.

o In 1987, the Communist-party-affiliated National Lawyers Guild received a grant from Hillary Clinton's New World Fund for $15,000 according to Daniel Wattenberg. This was after, during the previous year, the National Lawyers Guild had joined the November 29th Committee for Palestine — a reported front group for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — in their protest against Israel’s deportation of accused terrorists from the West Bank. In 1987 the National Lawyers Guild petitioned a U.S. court of appeals to declare a federal law allowing for the deportation of immigrants with subversive political beliefs unconstitutional--a case involving a group of illegal immigrants accused of being members of the PFLP. The National Lawyers Guild argued the law “would prevent anyone from giving any support to a liberation struggle in their own country.” (The Supreme Court later ruled in favor of deportation.)

Friedman concludes:

These causes are worlds away from yesterday’s paean to Israeli democracy and condemnation of Palestinian violence. If today’s Hillary Clinton has any regrets, she doesn’t appear to have made them public. (Her office didn’t return several phone calls and an e-mail requesting comment.) So far it hasn’t mattered much for her political career. But will her past eventually catch up to her? With ambition and political acumen like hers, it probably won’t.

And of course, she's right.

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