He's No Friend - Caroline B. Glick

Makor Rishon - August 4, 2000 - (Translated from Hebrew)

"If I become President, we will keep a glatt kosher kitchen in the White House!" In delivering this empty and eccentric promise to a crowd of 500 ultra-Orthodox Jews in Borough Park, New York during his first run for the presidency in March 1992, Bill Clinton introduced his policy doctrine for dealing with the Jews of America and Israel. According to this strategy, it doesn't matter what you do to the Jews, you just have to talk nice to them.

We received an overwhelming portion of this endearment policy last Friday night when the friendly President smiled real wide to the television audience and explained that he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem right after we agree to divide it in half like Prime Minister Barak agreed to do during the Camp David summit. Never mind that Clinton announced his commitment to move the embassy to our capital without delay during both his presidential runs in 1992 and 1996.

One of the reflexive claims of proponents of peace-at-any-price-and-right-now is that we have to race to sign agreements because Clinton is about to leave the White House. This claim, which has successfully permeated the national consciousness, is based on the assumption that President Clinton is the best friend we've ever had in the White House. This claim deserves serious examination.

President Clinton has surrounded himself with a battery of Jewish advisors. Aside from that, in keeping with his Jewish policy doctrine, he speaks beautifully about his warm regard for the descendants of the biblical patriarchs. And what about substance? When you look at the consequences of President Clinton's Middle East policies, the feeling of true friendship that he has smothered us with weakens. In fact it completely dissipates. Here are a few representative examples:

Under the administration of our friend President Clinton, during the years of the Netanyahu government, Israel begged and pleaded for almost two years for a third battery of Arrow missiles which we are developing jointly with the Americans. Although no one argues the defensive nature of the Arrow missile, Clinton always managed to link their procurement with "progress" in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Final US approval for the third battery was only granted after Netanyahu's defeat in the 1999 elections.

In stark contrast, under the Clinton administration, Egypt has been receiving some of the most advanced weapon systems in the US arsenal without reservations or conditions. The Clinton administration's arms policy toward Egypt is without precedent among all US administrations since Israel's establishment.

During the Camp David summit, while Barak was agreeing to relinquish the Jordan Valley and allow Palestinian control over international borders with Egypt and Jordan, the US officially announced its intention to equip the Egyptian armed forces with $900 million worth of advanced radar and air systems that will be integrated into all its forces.

Two weeks ago Israel's Ambassador in Egypt, Zvi Mazal sent a disturbing report to Jerusalem informing the government that Egypt intends to conduct a cold war against Israel even if we reach a final peace agreement with the Palestinians. Basic military science explains that cold wars remain "cold" only when both sides are capable of adequately deterring one another. The sale of advanced radar and air systems to Egypt is liable to substantially limit the IDF's ability to conduct a preventive strike against Egyptian forces in the event that they cross into the Sinai Desert. Consequently, the sale harms the army's ability to deter Egypt from attacking us.

The decision to scrap the sale of Phalcon aircraft to China came in the wake of American threats to cut the defense aid that we receive annually in retaliation for the deal. America also announced that from now on, we must receive its approval before concluding any weapons contracts with 27 countries that appear on a US Department of Defense "watch list". India, for instance appears on the list because of its conflict with Pakistan. (Pakistan, by the way, has extensive arms ties with China and Iran, among others.) Recently, India expressed interest in buying the Phalcon planes that were destined for China. It is still unclear whether Israel will in fact request American approval of the sale before signing on with the Indians. A few weeks ago the Pentagon scuttled an Israeli helicopter sale to Turkey. An American firm took over the contract.

The consequence of this American policy will be the closing down of the Israeli military industries because they cannot survive without export markets. The dissolution of our ability to arm ourselves will render our dependence on American good-will absolute. We will cease to protest American attempts to turn us into a banana republic because we will already be a banana republic. We will be unable to plan any military operation without receiving prior American approval.

If this situation had been in place for example in 1981, then Prime Minister Begin would never have been able to order the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Today Iran moves relentlessly toward nuclear independence, and Saddam Hussein has enjoyed two and a half years of complete freedom to develop his non-conventional forces in the absence of UN weapons inspectors. However, given our current relations with the US, even if availed of a window of opportunity, Israel will not have the military independence to conduct a preventive strike to contain these frightening phenomena.

The copyright for direct interference in Israeli elections belongs to former President Bush who obstinately postponed granting loan guarantees for immigration absorption during the general elections in 1992 in order to assist the Labor party. However, President Clinton improved the patent immeasurably.

Beneath the shadow of the horrendous terrorist attacks in February and March of 1996, President Clinton arrived here with great ceremony and pomp in order to garner public support for Shimon Peres. President Clinton also forced President Mubarak to hold a bizarre anti-terrorism conference and invite him and Peres to participate.

Since, in spite of his unprecedented meddling, Netanyahu still managed to defeat Peres in 1996, in 1999 President Clinton took direct command over Barak's campaign. From his perverse refusal to meet with Netanyahu to his deployment of his personal political advisors, Carville, Schrum and Greenberg to run Barak's campaign - Clinton left no room for doubt that he would not accept a Netanyahu victory. So brazen was Clinton's interference in our internal democratic processes that his team of advisors, Carville, Schrum and Greenberg did not even try to hide the fact that they were providing the friendly President with continuous updates on their progress in helping Barak. By the way, it is still unclear who financed the trio's work here.

And what about our good friend's treatment of American Jews?

Over the past few months, more and more evidence is piling up that Jonathan Pollard, who for the past fifteen years has been sitting out a life sentence in a US federal prison for spying for Israel, is more of a prisoner of Zion than a security prisoner. Senator Charles Schumer, after reading Pollard's classified file, announced that he couldn't see that Pollard had done any real damage to US security interests.

During the negotiations toward the Wye Plantation Accord, President Clinton promised then Prime Minister Netanyahu that in exchange for an agreement, he would release Pollard. Moments before the signing ceremony, Clinton brazenly and unapologetically broke this promise. Clinton justified his about-face by claiming that CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign if he honored his word and freed Pollard. Interestingly enough, Clinton didn't think twice about endangering his ties with Tenet when he granted clemency to fourteen Puerto Rican terrorists some months ago in order to help his wife Hillary in her Senate bid in the State of New York where there is a large Puerto Rican community. In this case as well, Tenet threatened to resign in protest - a threat he did not carry through on - and Pollard still rots in jail.

Before the Oslo process, the Arab world was suspicious of American administrations. At the Madrid Conference, the Arab governments insisted that the remains of the Soviet government act as co-sponsors to limit American influence over the proceedings. The Arabs then believed that America could not be trusted because of its close ties to Israel.

Since the Oslo signing ceremony at the White House Rose Garden in September 1993, the Arab approach has been overhauled. Now the Arabs generally, and the Palestinians in particular do not hesitate to put the US in the middle of every disagreement. From their perspective, the US under the Clinton administration has moved from Israel's side to their side as the President willingly acceded to their demand to act as an "honest broker."

In fulfilling this new role, in September 1996 the US accused Israel of responsibility for the battles between the IDF and the Palestinian police in spite of the fact that it was clear that Arafat gave the order to his troops to open fire on IDF soldiers. In 1997, after the terrorist attack at Café Apropos in Tel-Aviv, the Clinton administration refused to announce that Arafat had enabled the Hamas to conduct terrorist attacks despite the intelligence reports Israel had furnished it with which proved Arafat's complicity.

Under the framework of the Wye Agreement of October 1998, America was to oversee the implementation of the agreement by both sides. The understanding was that Israel would not transfer any further territory to Palestinian control until it was proven that the Palestinians carried out their part of the deal. In practice, the US became Arafat's mouthpiece. For instance, instead of forcing Arafat to seize all the illegal firearms from the Hamas and the Fatah militants, America settled for the passage of a law in the Palestinian legislature calling for all residents to hand in their weapons to the Palestinian police. Never mind that the law was never enforced, what's important is that it was passed. This justified the Clinton administration's application of unrelenting pressure on Netanyahu to transfer more land to Palestinian control. Incidentally, those same Fatah militants used their illegal weapons when they opened fire at Israeli soldiers during the rioting this past May.

What conclusion should we draw from all this? We should cease worrying about the fact that Clinton is leaving power. His warm words hide a bitter reality. The belief that we had a friend in Clinton was a dangerous delusion and we are already suffering the consequences. We must only hope that his successor, while perhaps speaking less of his friendship toward the Jews, will act on it more. Because the truth is that Clinton is not our friend at all.