In many respects, the Durban Conference on Racism presented Israel with one of its most critical challenges in its 53 year history. Had Arafat and other Arab leaders succeeded in hijacking the conference and having Israel branded internationally as an outlaw state, members of its government, diplomatic corps and military would be subject to arrest and trial around the world as war criminals. Moreover, had Zionism been equated with racism, the very basis of the Jewish state would have been delegitimized and it would have assumed the role of international pariah. So the statements and actions of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell in dramatically disassociating the United States from the parley and thereby blunting its anti-Israel mission, were the latest evidence that President Bush's election last November was providential. Indeed, the contrast with the reaction to events in Durban by the Democratic Party leadership is striking.
One has yet to hear from former President Bill Clinton whom his Vice President, Al Gore, once described in an interview with The Jewish Press as “the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.” This is the same Bill Clinton, now the honorary head of the national Democratic Party, who gave respectability to Yasir Arafat and dismissed having had to persuade this terrorist thug to put his gun out of camera range just before shaking his hand on the White House lawn when Oslo was announced.
Similarly, Mr. Gore, now the titular head of the Democrats, has yet to be heard from on the Durban issue. How could a man who so recently appealed so strongly for Jewish support simply fail to be heard on this great peril to Israel?
And as far as Senator Joe Lieberman, the man who sought Jewish support in his Vice Presidential run as one of our own, where in Heaven's name has he been?
Messers. Gore and Lieberman, harboring notions of reruns in 2004 as they do, may be loathe to anger the Jesse Jackson crowd by supporting the Bush Administration's thumbing its nose at its pet project. But for us, at a time of such consequence, for us it is Im Lo Achschav, Eimosai?
The Jewish community has traditionally given overwhelming support to national Democratic candidates. Come 2004, we should rethink this strategy.