President Bill Clinton at
Museum of Jewish Heritage
MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE
Bill Clinton Calls for Change
In Palestinian Leadership
Story by Tim Boxer
Photo by Nina Boxer
asked Ed Koch what he thought of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s proposal to banish the families of suicide bombers from their homes, as a deterrent to terrorism. Some thinkers have even called for the death of parents who encourage their children to blow themselves up in order to kill Jews.
“You can’t just kill the mother for giving birth to a suicide bomber,” the former New York mayor replied.
“But if you tie them to the crime, then you have a case. You can prosecute them as accessories. They can be held accountable and punished.
We talked at the sixth annual dinner of the Museum of Jewish Heritage at the Waldorf-Astoria, where guest speaker Bill Clinton stood in for his wife who was too busy being a senator.
“I always love being with Koch,” Clinton said.
Picking up on the suicide bombers, the former president said, “People have been ill served by leaders who sanction suicide bombers. It’s the darkest, most twisted thing a people could do. We cannot allow madness. We will have to have a change in leadership among the Palestinians.”
Clinton told of his recent visit to Dubai where the king said, “I do not condone suicide bombing. I wonder what will happen to their souls. It’s against our religion. What can I do about it?”
“Say it in public,” Clinton urged the king.
New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, museum chairman, honored Irving Schneider, a museum trustee and head of Helmsley-Spear realty.
“When I want to know what happens next week,” Morgenthau quipped, “I call Irving. He is a week older than I am.”
The guest of honor, who built children’s hospitals on Long Island and Israel, explained his deep commitment to the Jewish people:
“My mother and father came from Ukraine, not knowing a word of English. I could have been a victim of the Holocaust.”