The hijinks and tomfoolery of America’s presidential election season suffice to confound the minds of the diminishing numbers of Americans who remain unfashionably focused on issues. The raucous monkeyshines parading as the democratic process in action surely stupefy outsiders.
These shenanigans really shouldn’t preoccupy Israelis and it’s altogether not our place to pass judgment. Still, sometimes it’s awfully hard to keep our distance and our cool in the face of hypocrisy that cries to High Heaven.
Moreover, opinion-molders in the Land of the Free prefer to keep their news-consumers politically correct and suitably uninformed.
Hence, odds are that most of the minority of eligible primary voters and caucus participants (who actually play a role in the democratic process) won’t connect the dots.
For example, it’s more than unlikely that many will put into context Hillary Clinton’s jibe at Donald Trump’s failure to dissociate himself from unsavory comments by others within his earshot. Clinton informed all and sundry in her school marmish demeanor that she was “appalled” that Trump didn’t chide an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign event for claiming President Barack Obama was a Muslim and “not even an American.”
“Not only was it out of bounds, it was untrue,” intoned Hillary in an interview with CNN, but “he should have from the beginning corrected that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness.”
From the high moral ground she then called on Trump to “stop this descent into the kind of hateful, mean spirited, divisive rhetoric that we have seen too much of.” Trump, she asserted ought to apologize for not reacting to the “prejudice and the “discriminatory” sentiments.
She then opined that the questioner who stirred the pot would in all likelihood not attend any of her rallies. She keeps better company and per force attracts a superior crowd.
“But if that person would have been at my event, I would have called him out on it,” Clinton declaimed. “And I would have said from the very beginning that has no place in a political discussion like the one we are trying to have here. And not only it is out of place and wrong, it is totally factually untrue and quite impugning the integrity of the President.”
Hillary is a fine one to talk. Was she quick to dissociate herself from inflammatory rhetoric sounded in her presence and in circumstances where mishearing was far less probable than in the New Hampshire town hall meeting? Did she express her stern disapproval – even a faint hint thereof – of far more incendiary oratory? Did she make the slightest effort to “stop this descent into the kind of hateful, mean spirited, divisive rhetoric that we have seen too much of?” Did she apologize for not reacting to the “prejudice” and the “discriminatory” sentiments sounded around her? Heck no! Never! The incident, which makes the Trump controversy pale into near-imperceptibility by comparison, took place on November 11, 1999 – back when Hillary was first lady. Significantly, it triggered no remorse and never generated controversy. Hillary is apparently not bound by the rules of conduct she requires of Trump.
With much fanfare Hillary visited Gaza then and was graciously greeted by Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, who spiritedly launched into a blood-libel diatribe which didn’t seem in the least to perturb the righteous Hillary.
It also serves to note that none of this could in any shape or form be laid at the door of Benjamin 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, in blatant and zealous violation of Israel’s own domestic democratic processes.
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, patronizing and basking in ultra-liberal smugness, smiled contentedly as Suha railed in fake 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 or not to have heard every nuance. She listened via headphones to a simultaneous translation of Suha’s prepared script, accusing the Jewish state – in the genuine medieval Judeophobic well-poisoning tradition – of resorting to all manner of noxious machinations to kill Arab women and tots (as distinct presumably from adult Arab males).
Among its other sins, Hillary’s hostess charged, Israel deliberately contaminated with lethal toxins 80% of the water (not 79% or 81%) consumed by Palestinian females and infants. Diabolic Israel evidently managed to brew deadly concoctions that targeted gender- specific victims as well as the underage ones.
Hillary listened to the entire long-drawn-out 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 cheek.
Imagine Hillary’s indignation had Trump embraced and kissed the offensive New Hampshire questioner! But Hillary appears exempt from the need to denounce defamation and demonization. She is held to different standards than those she demands of Trump.
Thus, the uninitiated onlooker may be forgiven for having assumed that Suha actually 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 beleaguered Jewish state. When she chaired the New World Foundation in the Eighties, she funneled finances to PLO subsidiaries. In 1998 she preceded Bill Clinton in unabashed advocacy of a Palestinian state.
As secretary of state, she rushed to appoint an American ambassador to Syria after a five-year vacancy. Is it then any surprise that Hillary heaped effusive praises on Damascus despot Bashar Assad just as he began slaughtering his own people? As the misnamed Arab Spring started to devastate Syria, America’s then-top diplomat authoritatively informed her lessers that Assad was a “reformer.”
And at that same juncture – just as the Mideast became awash with reactionary Islamic-supremacist takeovers (cheered by her along with the rest of the beguiled Free World as democratic uprisings), Secretary of State Clinton had chosen – of all priorities – to berate Israel’s treatment of women.
For those who forget the momentous triggers for her lecturing, we were then in the grips of yet another of our perennial peculiar-cum-artificial kerfuffles. That one involved gender-segregated haredi bus lines.
Clinton harped on it with undisguised relish.
She had certainly imbibed scraps of disjointed and tendentious information on our much-hyped idiosyncratic 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 slanted monologue at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center as 2011 drew to a close.
Clinton seized the opportunity at the time to liken Israel to Iran after harping on eccentric hullabaloos at the extreme-most fringes of our society, making them look like the mainstream. She omitted mention that the mainstream is diametrically different. That in itself constituted rank distortion while the comparison to Iran was knowingly spiteful chutzpah. She never apologized for resorting to it.
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 largess to exploitable NGOs. The sole penalties these outfits faced – according to bills submitted when she served as Obama’s foreign policy chief – was the loss of tax exemptions.
This could by no realistic gauge be presented as a mortal blow to freedom. Indeed, American law prescribes far harsher penalties in analogous situations.
But the truth, as was the case in Suha’s address, proved consistently immaterial – perhaps altogether undesirable – to Hillary when she went into full-blown preachy mode (which was often).
In all, during her inglorious State Department stint, Hillary functioned as an authentic representative of her boss, President Obama.
And now as a presidential candidate herself, she pretends to be far friendlier to Israel than she was. She is understandably after money and votes. Electioneering begets lots of affable blarney but the devil is in the details. As only expected, Hillary never mentions her chumminess with Suha Arafat and her failure to take Mrs. Arafat to task for odious propaganda that (in the words of Hillary’s own censure of trump) “not only was it out of bounds, it was untrue.”
There are no extenuating excuses for the fact that Hillary kept mum during her Gaza visit and especially afterwards. She didn’t object to outright lies about non-existent contaminants with which Suha insisted Israel literally polluted actual Palestinian wells.
Not to so much as intimate a suggestion of criticism lent a measure of legitimacy to Suha’s outlandish and ultra-false charges. It also subliminally lent the impression that somehow Israel is the figurative poison in the Mideastern well – an impression later wellhoned by Obama whose bias-laden diplomacy Hillary Clinton unflinchingly furthered and helped implement.
Clearly, owning up to even a faint trace of such skewed statecraft now would be politically super-stupid for her with elections in the offing. Besides, Hillary was anyhow never a remarkable stickler for the truth. That, though, doesn’t mean that we should forget her double standards.
Paraphrasing Hillary’s own sanctimonious admonition, she “should have from the beginning corrected that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness.”
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book, was published recently by Gefen.