Washington Week

Jewish World Review July 13, 2001 / 22 Tamuz, 5761

President Bush at Jerusalem's Western Wall
Zuckerman: Arafat, Jewry's unifier, will not have it easy during Bush administration

By Binyamin L. Jolkovsky

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- TERRORIST cum statesman Yassar Arafat has, in a few short months, succeeded in uniting world Jewry in its resolve to see Israel embrace a "peace through security" approach in dealing with the Arab world, said Mortimer Zuckerman, the real estate mogul and publishing baron who recently assumed responsibilities as the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The organization is, arguably, the most important and influential in world Jewry, with its executives regularly meeting with heads of state and acting as a united voice for Jews worldwide.

Mr. Zuckerman's remarks were made yesterday at a by-invitation-only meeting of Jewish media to which JewishWorldReview.com was invited.

"One of the things Arafat has accomplished is a greater degree of unity among Jews in Israel and here," said Mr. Zuckerman, rattling off a laundry list of basic violations that have, in effect, silenced those doves who saw Israel's negotiating with Arafat as its last chance for survival. "There is a wider degree of support and unanimity within this community than has existed in a long time."

In fact, whereas a year ago, Jewish peaceniks had a voice in the debate over how to bring normalcy to the Middle East, these days, they are all but ignored.

The Arabs, Mr. Zuckerman said, have engaged in an "unrestrained and unrestricted, premeditated, coordinated and organized campaign of violence."

Mr. Zuckerman also contrasted America's role as facilitator under the Clinton and Bush administrations.

If Arafat still believes he can make any demand of Israel and never live up to his part of any pact, it might very well be because under the Clinton administration that is precisely what happened.

"The Clinton administration consistently, frankly overlooked the central violation of Oslo, and moved on from one agreement to the next without holding them accountable," said Mr. Zuckerman of the Arabs, noting that similar statements have been made by previous Clinton peace negotiators.

Just last month, Mr. Clinton, in an interview with Newsweek, blamed Arafat for destroying his "legacy."

In contrast, Mr. Zuckerman said, the Bush administration has refused to meet with Arafat as long as terror is being waged against the Jewish state.

And in a move announced yesterday, the White House is finalizing a revamping of a policy that offers reward money for information leading to the capture of terrorists who have killed American citizens. Under the Clinton administration, the program did not extend to American Jews killed within Israel.

The Bush administration, Mr. Zuckerman also revealed, is pushing hard behind the scenes for member countries of the United Nations to reject anti-Israel draft resolutions at the U.N's upcoming "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" to be held next month in Durban, South Africa.

Binyamin L. Jolkovsky is JWR's editor in chief. To comment, please click here.


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