Clinton era document suggests Jewish law as defense in Monica Lewinsky affair

Talmudic interpretation of adultery considered as means to clear president; document is one of some 10,000 previously undisclosed files released by Clinton library.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 12, 2014 11:10
1 minute read.
Monica Lewinsky hugs President Clinton

Monica Lewinsky hugs President Clinton in a file photo. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Previously undisclosed files from the Clinton presidential library have shown that the former president’s circle considered looking to Jewish law as a way to untangle themselves from the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

An email from January 27, 1999, one of some 10,000 documents released Friday, and first reported on by The New York Post Saturday, was sent by a senior aide to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and said that “According to classical Jewish law, president [Bill] Clinton did not commit adultery; adultery is defined as a married man having intercourse with a married woman, and Monica Lewinsky is single.”

“At worst, President Clinton is guilty of the common sin of onanism [masturbation], a sin that probably afflicts the consciences of most Jewish men at one time or another,” it said.

Susannah Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, was behind the argument, which was forwarded to Hillary Clinton’s domestic adviser, Ruby Shamir.

“From the perspective of Jewish history, we have to ask how Jews can condemn president Clinton’s behavior as immoral, when we exalt King David?” Susannah Heschel said. “King David had Batsheva’s husband, Uriah, murdered.

While David was condemned and punished, he was never thrown off the throne of Israel. On the contrary, he is exalted in our Jewish memory as the unifier of Israel.”

The 10,000 documents released by the Clinton presidential library on Friday are the last batch of previously private files from Bill Clinton’s administration to be made public.


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