In the final weekend before electing their next U.S. senator, New York voters continue to sift through constant revelations about Hillary Rodham Clinton and her pro-terrorist donors. The First Lady claims not to have known that the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) sponsored a June 13 fundraiser in Boston where she received $50,000 in donations and a plaque. Her campaign originally stated that the event was a meeting of Massachusetts Americans of Arab descent and that the AMA later tried to say it arranged the gathering.
”I resent this organization that claims to have hosted this event,” Clinton declared last week.
Sunday’s New York Post reports that Clinton sent a warm note on White House letterhead offering “greetings to each of you attending the American Muslim Alliance Convention” in October 1998. “I commend you for your efforts to encourage others to work to make their voices heard in the present and for the future,” she continued. “Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful convention.”
The event’s keynote speaker was Stanley Cohen, attorney to controversial Clinton donor Abdurahman Alamoudi. Cohen told the meeting that the “true terrorists are the state of Israel and its supporter, the United States, in perpetuating the victimization of the Palestinians in their own land.”
This “New Hill Flap,” as the Post’s front-page headline dubbed it, comes just 48 hours after further evidence of Clinton’s Mideast mendacity. On Friday, after repeated press inquiries, the Clinton campaign released an August 8 letter in which the First Lady thanks the AMA for hosting her June fundraiser.
“It was a pleasure to be a part of the Massachusetts chapter meeting of the American Muslim Alliance,” says the letter on White House stationery. “The plaque is a wonderful reminder of my visit. Please extend my appreciation and thanks to the entire membership.” The letter to Massachusetts AMA chair Tahir Ali bears the First Lady’s signature.
Clinton now says the correspondence was signed with an autopen. “I never saw the letter before,” she said. “I know nothing about this…No reason to check it out with me, the form letter is sent out.”
Republican rival Rick Lazio’s senatorial campaign responded to this news with a satirical press release. “Autopen Casts Deciding Vote to Double Taxes on New York,” said yesterday’s communique. “Vicious Machine Says Money Needed to Provide Free Housing for Hollywood Homeless.”
Even if Clinton is telling the truth in this instance, one of her White House aides should have searched for any such correspondence and released it to reporters with a full accounting of what really happened. Instead, in classic Clinton style, the truth has dribbled out since the New York Daily News broke the story on October 25.
The tale of the mad autopen comes on the heels of additional information about Abdurahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council (AMC). The Clinton campaign returned his $1,000 contribution after learning of his sympathies for Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group responsible for at least 130 deaths and over 600 injuries in a variety of Israeli bomb attacks. The Clinton campaign’s June 30 filing with the Federal Election Commission lists Alamoudi’s occupation as “American Museum Council” rather than “American Muslim Council.” Just a typo, the First Lady’s campaign has said.
Alamoudi, for his part, embarrassed Clinton further with his remarks at an October 28 rally at Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.
“I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas,” Alamoudi said. “Anybody support Hamas here?” Alamoudi thrice asked the crowd of 3,000 as it screamed with excitement. “Hear that, Bill Clinton?” he continued. “We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah…Does anybody support Hezbollah here?”
Hezbollah, of course, is the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the 1983 explosion at a Beirut barracks that killed 239 American Marines as they slept.
“It’s an occupation, stupid,” Alamoudi added, presumably of Israel’s presence in the Middle East. “Hamas is fighting an occupation. It’s a legal fight.”
When the Daily News asked Alamoudi to comment on his remarks, he replied, “You better check your Arabic.” Told that he had spoken in English, Alamoudi said, “It was in English? Oh my God, I forgot!”
Alamoudi also served as a State Department goodwill ambassador. Since 1997, he has made six speechmaking trips to the Middle East, earning $200-per-day plus a $200 expense per diem. Alamoudi lectured audiences on religious tolerance.
As Middle East specialist Steve Emerson wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal the AMA and AMC also sponsored a 1998 Brooklyn College rally where Islamic extremists demanded a “jihad” and described Jews as “pigs and monkeys.”
Hillary Clinton’s deceptive game of footsie with such characters raises new questions about her true sympathies. She has called for the creation of a Palestinian state. She kissed Mrs. Yasser Arafat on the cheek after Mrs. Arafat gave a speech in November 1999 claiming that Israel gassed Arab children. (Bad translation, Clinton explained.) The First Lady also denied allegations that she called a former campaign adviser “a f***ing Jew bastard” after Bill Clinton lost a congressional bid early in his career.
These facts may help clarify why Democratic assemblyman Dov Hikind, influential in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, endorsed neither Clinton nor Lazio for Senate. Indeed, Democratic city councilman Noach Dear, a Brooklyn Jew, backed Lazio’s candidacy Thursday, calling him “a great friend of Israel” while handing out “Lazio/Dear” yarmulkes.
The Long Island congressman still faces tough odds. The five-point lead he enjoyed in the Zogby International poll on October 31 vanished after voters seemingly became turned off by 500,000 state GOP phone calls that overplayed the Clinton blood-money issue. They claimed that the first lady’s donors support terrorists, such as those who blew up the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen last month. While Lazio did not sponsor the calls, Clinton accused him of capitalizing on the tragic murder of U.S. sailors.
For her part, Mrs. Clinton said in Rochester on November 2, “Those 17 young men and women died aboard defending our right to vote.” WABC-TV reporter Dave Evans wondered if “some of the audience in Rochester thought that invoking the Cole tragedy in order to get out the vote may have been a bit over-the-top.” Apart from that, the New York media have largely not commented on Clinton’s Rochester remarks.
The GOP nominee gained support since yesterday’s Zogby poll, but still trails Clinton who leads 49.3 percent to Lazio’s 44.9 (margin of error: 3.8 percent).
This seesawing race likely will pivot on turnout. Some 2,000 members of state teachers unions are calling Democratic voters to cajole them telephonically to their precincts. Members of the United AutoWorkers and affiliated unions have received a mailing urging votes for Albert Gore and Hillary Clinton.
The intensity of Lazio’s supporters may be his secret weapon. They are eager to help Hillary pack her carpetbag and go home. Since not even gale-force winds will keep them from the polls, Lazio should pray for a noreaster to sandbag Clinton’s Gotham City base. Tuesday’s forecast calls for 58 degrees beneath partly cloudy skies.