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Jewish World ReviewNov. 1, 2000 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Evan Gahr

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Given Hillary's history should anyone -- other than society's most radical -- be surprised? -- WILL LIBERALS finally judge their woman by the company she keeps? Or just follow the money? Long before she needed to curry favor with voters in her adopted home state, Hillary Rodham Clinton helped fund Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) front groups. Now comes word that veteran anti-Israel activists — including an outspoken supporter of the radical terrorist group Hamas — have contributed to Mrs. Clinton's campaign for New York senator.

First, it was $500 from American University professor Clovis Maksoud, the Arab League's former "special envoy" to the United Nations. In an open letter to PLO chieftan Yasser Arafat this summer, Mr. Maksoud urged the semi-retired terrorist to extricate himself from the Oslo peace accords. Otherwise Israel — or the "Zionist colonial entity" to borrow Mr. Maksoud's classic term — would use peace negotiations to advance its "Zionist dream" of "international legitimacy." Those shrewd Jews.

Around the same time as that lovely missive, Mr. Maksoud donated $500 to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign war chest. Mr. Maksoud says he made the donation this May at a Virginia fund-raiser because of Mrs. Clinton's obvious sympathy for the "Palestinian cause." Others apparently feel the same way. The New York Daily News reported on Oct. 25 that Abdurahman Alamoudi of the pro-Hamas American Muslim Council donated $1,000 to Hillary's Senate campaign this May. Mr. Abdurahman, who calls Hamas a "freedom fighting organization," explains that, "We are the ones who went to the White House and defended what is called Hamas" (an apparent reference to the White House receptions Mrs. Clinton is known to have hosted for the American Muslim Council and like-minded groups).

Mrs. Clinton even posed for a photograph with Mr. Alamoudi at a June fund-raiser sponsored by the American Muslim Alliance.

All this was breathlessly reported in a front page Daily News story. But given Mrs. Clinton's background it shouldn't surprise anyone. Nor is any of this likely to knock some sense into her liberal acolytes. Whenever she's caught playing footsie with the anti-Israel crowd or alleged to have indulged outright bigotry, liberal activists vouch for Hillary's sainthood. If they were not much bothered by her stony silence last November in the face of Mrs. Arafat's blood libel against the Jewish state, then, hey, what's $1,500 dollars among friends?

(Hillary's campaign has promised to return the $1,000 from Mr. Alamoudi. Mr. Maksoud tells this writer the campaign has not returned his $500, which was first reported by the New York Observer.)

But it's probably not necessary to return any of the money. No matter what she says or does, liberal Jewish organizations — every conceivable outfit from the Anti-Defamation League to the women's group Hadassah — stand resolutely behind Hillary. Would a Republican be accorded such kid glove treatment? Doubtful. The Anti-Defamation League, quite smitten with Hillary, cringes at Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, a strong Israel supporter. Yes, the usual double-standard obtains. But Hillary seems to benefit from an even more curious phenomena — the widespread belief that liberals are utterly incapable of bigotry or really any odious sentiments.

Recall Hillary and Co.'s response to allegations that she used an anti-Semitic slur in 1974. Sen. Charles Schumer, blessed with the power to read minds, declared that Hillary "does not have an anti-Semitic thought . . . in her body." Not a thought? Is Mr. Schumer blessed with the ability to read minds? Or has he assumed that bigotry on the part of liberals is inconceivable? By what logic does adherence to a particular set of political beliefs preclude the kind of prejudice that has bedeviled mankind from time immemorial?

Here's the rub: Notwithstanding the cultural elite's fixation on supposedly intolerant conservatives, it is the left which readily indulges bigotry, including anti-Semitism thinly cloaked as anti-Zionism.

Consider the left's shameful record. Liberals can certainly sniff out the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism on the right from miles away. Too bad they are olfactory-challenged when the stink is closer to home.

Whether it is the anti-Semitic skit at SUNY-New Paltz's recent conference on sexuality or the upscale Jew-baiting by novelist Gore Vidal back in the 1980s, anti-Semitism on the left abounds. Long before Al Sharpton was ushered into the Democrat's big tent, the cultural elite accommodated quite a few "progressives" who openly trafficked in anti-Semitism.

In recent months, the only public anti-Semitism in response to Al Gore's selection of a Jewish running mate has emanated from "liberal" environs. Amsterdam News publisher Bill Tatum suggested the Jews had bought the nomination. The sad fact is that much prejudice, both sophisticated and crude, regularly emanates from the left. Nevertheless, bigotry is widely considered the exclusive domain of conservatives.

No wonder Hillary gets a free ride from most liberals in the media and elsewhere. Or even from relatively nonpolitical types like Elie Wiesel. She couldn't possibly have said anything anti-Semitic or really wish the Jewish people any harm; even if she does she keeps company with some of Israel's —and arguably America's — worst enemies in this country. Hamas after all is nearly as anti-American as it is anti-Israel. Hillary's now infamous donors should feel right at home.

JWR contributor Evan Gahr is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. To comment click here.


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© 2000, Evan Gahr.