- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2000

Last weekend, across the street from the White House, 3,000 people voiced their opposition to Israel. While the cheering wasn't audible in New York, its echoes may still be heard there as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio run their Senate race down to the wire.

"I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas," Abdurahaman Alamoudi told the crowd in Lafayette Park, according to the New York Daily News. "Anybody support Hamas here?" Mr. Alamoudi asked three times. The crowd roared its enthusiastic assent. "Hear that Bill Clinton?" Mr. Alamoudi continued. "We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah… ." Hamas, of course, is an Arab terrorist group notorious for its attacks on Israeli citizens, while Hezbollah is infamous for the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon that left 239 American soldiers dead. What Mr. Alamoudi should have added next, as cheers for Hezbollah subsided, is that he is also a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

After the Daily News disclosed Mr. Alamoudi's Hamas sympathies (the State Department, incredibly, employs him as a "goodwill ambassador,") Mrs. Clinton announced she would return his $1,000 campaign contribution. But were his views really a surprise to her? He had attended at least one Muslim holiday reception she had hosted as first lady, after which he had boasted that he had gone "to the White House and defended what is called Hamas." For the record, George W. Bush's campaign also promised to return $1,000 it had received from Mr. Alamoudi.

End of story? That would seem to be the case for George W. Bush. But Mrs. Clinton's links to Mr. Alamoudi and other anti-Israel militants extend beyond a single donation. In fact, her Senate campaign received $50,000 from the American Muslim Alliance, an organization that openly supports "armed struggle" against Israel. Mrs. Clinton promised to return the money after the group's Hamas sympathies came out last week. "It was portrayed as a group who [sic] would support my campaign," said Mrs. Clinton, protesting ignorance. And about that plaque she received emblazoned with the group's name to mark the fund-raising occasion? "I've been given literally thousands of plaques," Mrs. Clinton replied.

Will the dumb blonde routine play? What Mr. Lazio is calling "blood money" has become a major issue in New York, where the Jewish vote is essential to Mrs. Clinton's success. The state Republican Party staged a weekend telephone campaign linking Mrs. Clinton's pro-terrorist-supporters with "the same kind of terrorism that killed our sailors on the USS Cole." The Clinton campaign responded with a commercial castigating Mr. Lazio for trying to "exploit this tragedy" to the plaintive notes of "Taps." Mr. Lazio's response? "There's one candidate here who's actually receiving support from a group that supports terrorism, murder and violence to achieve political gain," Mr. Lazio said on NBC's "Today" show. "There's nothing for me to apologize for."

He's right. While most polls are calling the race a dead heat, it's worth noting that Mrs. Clinton's support among Jewish voters has slipped to around 50 percent. Given the traditional voting patterns of this dependably Democratic constituency, this looks like a troubling development for the Clinton campaign. And just listen to what Mrs. Clinton is saying these days. She's talking about Jesse Helms again, and Newt Gingrich. "Do we want to reward a campaign that's in the fine tradition of Newt Gingrich twisting and distorting and smearing people?" (funny, but that seems reminiscent of someone else…). And she's resorted to name-calling. "This campaign should be about not me or my opponent, certainly not about his misleading, inaccurate, offensive, outrageous, despicable attacks. It ought to be about you."

She sure knows a lot of adjectives, but she doesn't sound like a winner.

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