The Clinton Dilemma

Professor Howard L. Adelson - Jewish Press (NY) - August 18, 2000

Note: Justice4JP presents this article solely for educational purposes relevant to the Pollard Case . Sections relevant to the Pollard case are accurate and informational. These sections appear in bold below.

The resignation of Foreign Minister David Levy is analogous in meaning, for Prime Minister Ehud Barak, to the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar's final feast in the Book of Daniel. Barak's Government is in the last stages of decay, and it has been found wanting.

Barak's fate during the next two months rests in the hands of President Clinton. By yielding completely at Camp David, Barak fulfilled the highest hopes of Clinton and the worst fears of the Israeli electorate. David Levy's resignation, following so quickly upon the unrepentant Barak's demand to continue negotiations with Arafat, taking the concessions made at Camp David as the starting point for further talks, has driven the current Israeli government to the brink of dissolution. Barak has lost touch with the desires of the Jewish citizens of Israel and with the vast majority of the members of the Knesset.

The fate of Ehud Barak really remains in the hands of President Clinton. Most Israelis, despite the spin-doctors, realize that Camp David II was a monumental Israeli defeat that was planned and engineered by President Clinton with the full collaboration of a very pliant Ehud Barak. Only by demonstrating conclusively that Israel actually gained from the concessions made at Camp David II, can the Israeli public be brought to excuse the violation of all the promises made during the election campaign by Ehud Barak.

To achieve that goal, President Clinton must immediately make payment on at least a major portion of the promises that he made to Israel during his own election and during his administration. Words, alone, to the effect that he is considering such action in fulfillment of his promises, will no longer fool the Israeli populace. The Israelis are just as aware as the American citizenry of the poor reputation that Clinton has for keeping his word and for telling the truth. He could easily go down in history as 'the Great Prevaricator." Nevertheless, it is quite clear that Clinton has made a number of promises to the Israelis and to the Jewish community in the US To save Barak and his treasured hope of a settlement with Arafat, he must carry out some of those promises.

Firstly, President Clinton must immediately move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and not simply state that he is considering such a move before the end of his term of office. He has made that promise several times in the past, but he has always found it inconvenient to act upon the promise. Now he must carry out the promise and not simply indicate that he will consider doing that after the election in which Mrs. Clinton requires the support of the Jews of Now York. The members of the Jewish community in New York will not take the word of President Clinton or Mrs. Clinton on simple faith. They have proved to be prevaricators too often in the past. The promises of the past must be acted upon in the immediate future, if the fate of Barak is to be improved.

Secondarily, President Clinton must free Jonathan Pollard. He has made innumerable promises in that regard, but all of them have been false promises. As an example, it is well known that his numerous pledges to Bibi Netanyahu before the Wye River Plantation conference proved to be completely false. Clinton apparently never had the slightest intention of carrying out those pledges. His statement after the Wye River Plantation Conference that he would review the entire matter of the fate of Jonathan Pollard, and that the review would not be a never-ending process, remains to this moment a matter of idle words designed to mislead the Jewish public and the Israelis. To save Barak, it is vital that Clinton demonstrate for all to see that Barak achieved what Netanyahu could not. It is clear, however, that only actions will carry any weight with the Israeli public. Much has been promised in the past, but Clinton has been false to his promises.

Finally, President Clinton must negotiate a full mutual defense treaty between the US and Israel. Such a treaty is the only device that has the force of law. Mere statements about maintaining the strategic superiority of Israel will not convince anyone of the real purpose of American foreign policy. Such promises of unwavering support for Israel's security were made by James Baker, the Secretary of State of the Bush administration, during the Gulf War when Israel was the target of missiles fired by Saddam Hussein, but they were false. Simply adding some millions to the defense support given to Israel will mean very little in the light of the poor faith of the Clinton administration in the matter of the sale of the Phalcon warning and control system by the Israelis to the Peoples Republic of China.

The mutual defense treaty that should be negotiated will require the approval of the Senate in the shortest possible time. It must be done before the election, or the Jewish community in New York will recognize that the promises of the Clintons are empty verbiage. Such a mutual defense treaty is a vital necessity for the survival of the Barak Government to prove that Barak has improved the security position of Israel that he is putting at risk by his concessions. Anything short of such a ratified mutual defense treaty will not save Barak from the consequences of his actions at Camp David II.

It is perfectly clear that Barak is in a most difficult position. He cannot simply reinterpret past experience, nor can he pretend that out of a stunning diplomatic defeat came a glorious victory. Barak's fate rests in the hands of President Clinton, but Clinton cannot resort to his usual practice of simply making promises because the Israeli public does not trust him. In fact, Israelis no longer trust their own politicians because they have violated their pledged word as did Clinton.

President Clinton is obviously playing a game when he suggests that he will make a decision about moving the embassy to Jerusalem by Jan 20, 2001. That is well after the American election and on the last day of his administration. Thus his successor will have more than ample time to void any such action by Clinton. Do the Clintons really believe that New York Jews are so foolish that they will vote for Mrs. Clinton on the basis of that promise by an individual who has persistently failed to tell the truth? Such a view of New York Jews is insulting, but it is apparently a prevalent view among the supporters of Mrs. Clinton.

Let us speculate a moment about the dilemma that faces Mrs. Clinton and about the actions of her husband, who has thrown himself completely into the campaign to get her elected. The Jews of New York should remember that despite the fact that the media are ignoring the fact, there is going to be a primary contest on September 12th in New York for the Democratic nomination of. a candidate for the position of junior senator. The media sources are ignoring that fact simply because they expect that she will trounce her opponent. Her opponent, however, is a man who has declared himself very favorably for Jewish concerns, and he has been a very active supporter in the past. He is Dr. Mark McMahon, and he may well capture the Jewish vote of even the liberals in the light of the Clinton failure to act more favorably on Jewish concerns. The Jews of New York are fully capable of administering a very sharp reminder to Mrs. Clinton of their dissatisfaction with her past record. They can do so simply by voting for her opponent in the Democratic Party Primary. The President and Mrs. Clinton will be able to read the results of that primary contest. Simply voting for Mrs. Clinton's opponent in the primary, even though it is unlikely that the Democratic bosses in New York would ever permit a real contest, would be very beneficial.

Of greater importance in our speculation, however, is the probability that the Clintons will not move the embassy, free Pollard, or negotiate a new mutual defense treaty. We do know that Mrs. Clinton raised very significant sums from Arab groups and individual Muslims who have supported terrorists. She has a great deal to fear. There is no doubt that Mrs. Clinton made a series of promises to the anti-Israel Arabs in her attempts to raise money. Obviously these Arabs and pro-terrorist fundamentalists could ruin any hopes that she has for victory in New York by revealing the nature of those promises

The Clintons, by placing the date for the fulfillment of any promises in the period after the senatorial elections, are trying to "protect their rears." Hillary Clinton does not dare to risk the anger of her Muslim fundamentalist supporters. If she acted favorably toward Israel, or if her husband did also, those friends of Arafat and the terrorists could end her political career simply by reciting the pledges that she made to them in return for their contributions to her senatorial campaign.

The Clintons are fully prepared to make pledges that don't have to be acted upon until after Election Day. That is reportedly what happened to Bibi Netanyahu at the Wye River Plantation Conference. Clinton, according to most reports, had pledged to Netanyahu that he would free Jonathan Pollard at the conclusion of a successful meeting at the Wye River Plantation. Netanyahu could then go home and claim a success no matter what concessions he had made. As a result Netanyahu made totally inexcusable concessions to Arafat. However, when Netanyahu called upon Clinton to honor his pledge, Clinton reneged and replied that all of the leading authorities in the security apparatus of the US were opposed to such a move. He then said that he would initiate a swift, total review of the Pollard case.

Of course, he did no such thing. Pollard continues to languish in prison, and the case apparently is not under any swift, active review. Netanyahu, however, lost the total support of the national, patriotic voters in Israel. As a result Netanyahu lost the election badly.

The core of the problem for Barak and for Mrs. Clinton is quite obvious. The New York Jewish community will have to prove itself to be very foolish, if Mrs. Clinton gets a substantial Jewish vote. Israeli Jews will have to be similarly quite bereft of common sense, if they support Ehud Barak in the face of his proven incompetence.