Across the Bay

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Geniuszzz of the Week: Bill Clinton

Guest post by Lee Smith.
For the previous Geniuszzz, click here.

In the past the former President has explained that the major impediment he faced in solving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was Yasser Arafat. Despite the contrary claims of former aides, and even a former US president contesting his account, Clinton stood firm, without entirely shaming the Palestinian side. Two months ago, Clinton even wrote a letter to the American Jewish Committee thanking the organization for correcting Jimmy Carter’s account of Camp David and subsequent negotiations.

But now with Hilary on the campaign trail, that’s all in the past. Peace in the Middle East is easy, as long as you have the right person in the White House – and a proper knowledge of history. You don’t need maps or Robert Malley’s slide-rule to show how the Israelis tried to short-sheet the Arabs. It just ain’t that complicated! Clinton says the peace process was derailed for one reason alone – the bullet that killed Yitzhak Rabin.

“The assassination of Rabin killed the whole process,” Clinton told the London-based pan-Arab daily, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. “This one bullet not only killed Yitzhak Rabin but the whole process that we were working on.”

That’s right – it was a Jewish extremist who ruined Oslo. Never mind the second intifada and Hamas’s genocidal campaign against Jews. And Chairman Arafat had nothing to do with sabotaging the peace process – it was a single Jewish bullet that brought chaos to the Middle East.

Oh sure, didn’t you know, we also could have had peace between Israel and Syria? And we still can – “It will take 35 minutes to resolve the problem between Israel and Syria,” says Clinton. Wow! 35 minutes! With all those nuts vendors, Nancy Pelosi can’t get through the Hamidiya Market that fast. 35 minutes - gee, I wonder which American presidential candidate could pull that stunt off?

Maybe Clinton is unaware that this is exactly how “peace-loving” Arab nationalist circles understand the 90s – of course we wanted peace, and we were so close. But after that Jew killed Rabin, the Palestinians had no choice but to kill Jews. And then of course, Sharon walked near Islam’s 3rd holiest site and so you see we really had to kill Jews.

If it’s any consolation to Clinton, his place in Arab nationalist history is roughly analogous to Rabin’s. Loathed at the time as the bully who tried to twist Arafat’s arm at the behest of the Jews, in retrospect Clinton is an Arab favorite, a man of peace – who was set up to fail by a Mossad plot involving the Jewess Monica Lewinsky. And by the way, anyone is better than Bush.

Unfortunately for Clinton, he’s on the record all over the place – even in his own memoirs. But the clearest statement comes from a letter Benny Morris wrote the New York Review of Books back in 2002. According to Morris, Clinton called former Israeli PM Ehud Barak after a NY Times article by Deborah Sontag indulged in a bit of Malleyesque revisionism:

“What the hell is this?” Clinton is alleged to have asked Barak. “Why is she turning the mistakes we [i.e., the US and Israel] made into the essence? The true story of Camp David was that for the first time in the history of the conflict the American president put on the table a proposal, based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, very close to the Palestinian demands, and Arafat refused even to accept it as a basis for negotiations, walked out of the room, and deliberately turned to terrorism. That's the real story—all the rest is gossip.”

Assuming that it’s still the real story today, then all the rest is campaign nonsense.