Hillary Gets a Shabbat ReprieveBy Marilyn Henry, Jerusalem Post, 07/24/2000
NEW YORK (July 24) - Hillary Rodham Clinton got a Shabbat reprieve from allegations of a 1974 antisemitic slur. She was warmly welcomed at an Orthodox synagogue in Long Island's Westhampton Beach, where she indirectly called on the Palestinians to give up "their commitment to destruction."
"So much of the challenge that the president [Bill Clinton] and the prime minister [Ehud Barak] are facing is rooted in whether or not others will give up their hatred, will give up their sense of violence and their commitment to destruction in return for peace," said Clinton, the Democratic candidate for Senate from New York.
Peace for Israel "will not be achieved unless there is an agreement with a partner willing to respect those ground rules of security, fairness, justice and permanence," Clinton told the Shabbat worshipers at the Hampton Synagogue.
Clinton did not mention Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat by name in her speech from the pulpit.
Her appearance at the synagogue came at the end of a week spent denying allegations that in 1974 she had used an antisemitic slur against the Arkansas campaign manager of her husband's failed bid for the Congress. The alleged incident is recounted in State of a Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton, written by Jerry Oppenheimer, a former reporter for the tabloid National Enquirer.
In her speech, Clinton also said she is worried about hate crimes and bigotry. "I think all of us know how important it is to stand against [prejudice] whenever it raises its ugly head," she said.
To gauge Jewish sentiment about Clinton, the New York Daily News last week conducted an informal poll of 119 Jewish voters in metropolitan New York.
Of those, 34 said they don't believe she used an antisemitic slur, while 21 said they believed it. The remainder said they are not sure or do not care, the newspaper reported. However, one in five voters said they would be less likely to vote for Clinton if the allegation proved true.
The Jewish vote accounts for a bit more than 10 percent of the statewide vote, and is a crucial swing vote in a tight race. Clinton and her Republican rival, Congressman Rick Lazio, are statistically in a dead heat.
Long Island's east end is friendly territory for the Clintons. They have vacationed and held successful fund-raising events among entertainers in the neighborhood known as "Hollywood in the Hamptons."
"I know this has been a very difficult and very trying week for you, and it's time to move on," Rabbi Marc Schneier said to Clinton.
"Hillary has always been a friend of our people," said Schneier, whose synagogue is expected to host Lazio next Saturday.