- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2006

Of all the intractable realities of the Arab world, anti-Semitism stands as one of the most terrible. So, while the United States can never condone or accept such a mindset, it would be virtually impossible to speak to any politician in the Middle East if we refused to speak with anti-Semites. This is especially true when those same leaders are trying to build a democratic, pluralistic society through peaceful means — a guideline which of course would rule out figures like Yasser Arafat, the Iranian mullahs and Syrian dictators, but must include democrats like Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Yet, we are hardly convinced that the Democrats’ recent condemnation and public humiliation of Mr. al-Maliki is based on an absolute intolerance toward anti-Semitic leaders, if only for the questions it raises. Where, for instance, were the absolutist Democrats when Bill Clinton was courting Arafat throughout his administration?

No other world leader (and we use that label lightly when talking about the late PLO boss) spent more time in Washington than did Arafat, who subsequently betrayed Mr. Clinton’s misplaced trust by launching a legion of suicide bombers into the heart of Israel. In fact, when the Bush administration refused to meet with Arafat or engage bloody-minded despots such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, it has been the Democrats and their allies in the liberal media who have complained the loudest.

Fortunately, Arafat at least is gone, but the organization that paid him even more respect than the Clinton White House — the United Nations — is alive and well, and, we’re told by Democrats, remains the answer to all the world’s problems. So if Democrats want to talk about anti-Semitism, let’s talk about the United Nations under the leadership of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

It is the United Nations whose assembly routinely votes to condemn Israel and whose Security Council members just as routinely veto U.S.-led attempts to isolate the world’s worst regimes. Instead, Democrats choose to attack Ambassador John Bolton, who arguably has done more than any Democrat to reform the United Nations, long a haven for anti-Semites.

It was just a little more than a week ago when seven House Democrats voted against a resolution supporting Israel and condemning Hezbollah, while four shamefully voted “present.” Did Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean call them “anti-Semitic”? Did Sens. Harry Reid, Dick Durbin or Charles Schumer publicly criticize their fellow Democrats’ “failure to condemn Hezbollah’s aggression and recognize Israel’s right to defend itself,” as they wrote to Mr. al-Maliki?

Perhaps if the Democrats’ cartoonish anger over anti-Semitism extended beyond Iraq, voters might be swayed that they have, in the words of liberal journalist Peter Beinart, “principles beyond political expedience.”

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