Another tack: The poison in the well

We won't be better liked for being weaker, and getting weaker won't improve our self-preservation prospects.

December 16, 2011 18:25
Hillary Clinton kissing Suha Arafat

Hillary Clinton kissing Suha Arafat 521. (photo credit: Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


On November 11, 1999, back when she was first lady, Hillary Clinton visited Gaza. She was graciously greeted by Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, who spiritedly launched into a blood-libel diatribe.

None of this, incidentally, could be laid at the door of Binyamin Netanyahu’s demonic disrepute. Israel’s then-prime minister was Ehud Barak, whose electoral campaign was enthusiastically aided and abetted by Hillary’s own hubby.But contrary to conventional wisdom, it never really matters much who’s in power in Jerusalem. Israel is always the regional bogeyman. And so, back in the good old days of post-Oslo Labor rule, America’s first lady, self-satisfied and basking in ultra-liberal sanctimony, smiled contentedly as Suha railed in indignation: “Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.”

No way could Hillary claim to have gotten the wrong end of the stick. She listened via simultaneous translation to Suha’s prepared script, accusing Israel – in genuine medieval well-poisoning tradition – of resorting to all manner of noxious concoctions to kill Arab women and tots (as distinct, presumably, from adult males).

Among its other sins, Hillary’s hostess charged, Israel deliberately contaminated with lethal toxins 80 percent of the water (not 79% or 81%) consumed by Palestinian females and infants.

Hillary listened to the calumny without a hint of displeasure. Indeed, she nodded approval from time to time, and when Suha concluded, Hillary embraced her warmly and planted affectionate kisses on her cheeks.

Thus, the uninitiated onlooker may be forgiven for assuming that Suha listed irrefutable grievances and that her claims won at least the tacit corroboration of her American guest. Significantly, even after the bizarre scene ended, Clinton never bothered to dispel that impression. This, however, should have come as no shocker to anyone familiar with her record.

Going back to the earliest stirrings of Hillary’s public-life debut, she treated the PLO as a hip revolutionary liberation movement, rather than as spearheading an Arab war to destroy the Jewish state. When she chaired the New World Foundation in the ’80s, she funneled finances to PLO subsidiaries. In 1998, she preceded Bill Clinton in unabashed advocacy of a Palestinian state.

So is it any surprise that, just as the Mideast is awash with reactionary Islamic-supremacist takeovers (cheered by the beguiled Free World as democratic uprisings), Secretary of State Clinton should choose to berate Israel’s treatment of women? Hardly.

She has certainly imbibed scraps of disjointed and tendentious information on our much-hyped in-house quarrels. Yet our boisterous debate, more than all else, attests to the vibrancy of our civil liberties rather than to their demise, as she disingenuously contended in her skewed monologue at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center.

Clinton likened Israel to Iran after harping on controversies at the extreme-most fringes of our society, making them look like the mainstream. She omitted to mention that the mainstream is diametrically different. That is rank distortion.

The same goes for Clinton’s excoriation of legitimate Knesset legislative initiatives to limit the ability of foreign governments to derail our domestic democracy via financial largesse to various NGOs. All these outfits face is the loss of tax exemptions, which is hardly a mortal blow to freedom and certainly less than what the American law prescribes. But the truth, as was the case in Suha’s address, is immaterial – perhaps it’s altogether undesirable.

With doting chums like this secretary of state, it’s safe to deduce that we need no enemies in America’s corridors of power. But the really bad news is that pals like Hillary abound there. She is an authentic representative of her boss, President Barack Obama.

In his friendliest guise yet, he has just told Jewish campaign donors that he considers “no ally more important than the State of Israel” and that “Prime Minister Netanyahu knows he can count on the United States.... We will not abandon the pursuit of a just and lasting peace that will end the conflict.”

Yep, we got the message: Obama wants money and votes. Electioneering begets lots of brotherly blarney, but the devil is in the details. What’s a “just” peace, and what does its “pursuit” denote?

The answers were furnished by Obama’s defense secretary, Leon Panetta, at the same forum in which Clinton tongue-lashed the Mideast’s lone democracy. If Clinton defamed our democratic deportment, Panetta acerbically scorned our survival strategies. Put in a nutshell, he blamed all regional ills on Israel.

The inescapable corollary is that justice can only be achieved by righting wayward Israel’s wrongs and winning concessions from it. Unambiguously placing the onus upon Israel, Panetta indeed urged Israel to take risks and “lean forward” to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Never mind that Israel had already taken risks aplenty – time after disastrous time – gaining nothing but more bloodshed and abuse for its sacrifices, while whetting appetites for yet more sacrifices.

What if our goodwill blows up in our faces yet again? “If the gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are. And that is exactly why Israel should pursue them,” Panetta pontificated.

Subtext: Israel needs to bare its throat to genocidal enemies, so that the watching world would admire its virtue. One would think Panetta, a former CIA director, has just surfaced from a sealed bunker, entirely oblivious to repeated displays of Israeli virtue that only intensified Israel’s vilification.

We won’t be better liked for being weaker, and getting weaker won’t improve our self-preservation prospects.

Yet weakening Israel is precisely the Obama administration’s definition for “just,” and consequently the “pursuit” of a just solution means twisting Israel’s arms. This begins with reading it the riot act.

That was plainly Panetta’s mission when he sternly warned against a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

That was plainly Panetta’s mission when pompously proposing that Israel “reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability – countries like Turkey and Egypt.” We might question how much stability has been furthered by Egypt and Turkey, but Panetta left no doubt regarding who’s liable for the busted fences.

That was plainly Panetta’s mission when he suggested that Israel undermines the Palestinian Authority and is at fault for not restarting moribund negotiations with it. That was why he hectored: “Just get to the damn table.”

In the simplistic Obamaesque worldview, Israel is the irritant that predisposes the entire Arab/Muslim sphere against America.

Israel is the figurative poison in the Mideastern well, much like the contaminants with which Suha insisted Israel literally polluted actual Palestinian wells.

Unfortunately (by their perception) Obama and crew can’t thoroughly disinfect the region from the Israeli venom. Even a faint trace of such sentiment would be politically super-stupid with elections in the offing.

But Barack, Hillary and Leon can bully us while nonetheless posing as our bosom buddies. Of course, successive Israeli governments have well demonstrated that crude pressure from Oval Office patrons can be marketed as evidence of deep, abiding friendship.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Cookie Settings