Jewish Herald-Voice, Editorials & Opinions

Jewish Herald-Voice, Editorials & Opinions

President Clinton:
the best president the American Jewish community has ever known


Bill Clinton’s presidency is beginning to recognize its potential for greatness. Smart and empathetic, Clinton has been the best president for the American Jewish community in our history.

Though we as a community are frequently viewed by others as being monolithic and only interested in one issue – Israel, we know that these perceptions are incorrect.

Though Israel’s security is at the top of the agenda of most American Jews, it is certainly not the entire agenda. Nonetheless, President Bill Clinton has been the most supportive U.S. president in Israel’s history. I have had the privilege of being with President Clinton on Air Force One and at dinner with him on the Saturday before the signing of the first Peace Accords on the south lawn of the White House and of having the opportunity to talk to him personally.

Clinton has supported these goals at great political cost, using much capital to get the foreign-aid bills passed guaranteeing Israel’s positions in an environment that is politically hostile.

Conversely, Bob Dole has created foreign aid to Israel as not an “entitlement program” and has accused Israel of depending on Israel aid like an addict on drugs when he said, “Some people get hooked on aid and they never want to take a penny less. It’s like drugs” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 15,1990).

He has accused American Jewish leaders of being selfish (Kansas City Star, Apr. 21, 1990). He has proposed cutting aid to Israel by five percent. He declared that “The American taxpayer has no interest in subsidizing the backward social economy in Israel” (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 11, 1991)

Bill Clinton has brought more Jews women and minorities into government than any other president in our history. Consider the number of Jews currently in the Cabinet. Consider the number of Jewish appointments made to the United States Supreme Court and to other benches since Bill Clinton became president. Compare and contrast that with the prior 12-year period. Look at the White House staff and its high percentage of Jews. Consider those whom the president considers to be his best friends around the country, and you will find that an extremely high percentage are of the Jewish faith.

Bill Clinton and his administration have stood firmly to protect the sacred relationship int he public-private partnership. Jewish institutions receive 40 percent of their funding from federal and state sources. In Houston, the figure is approximately $4 million annually.

As a matter of action, as a matter of spirit, the American Jewish community should unite in its support of the reelection of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both real friends of our community, as it has never supported a presidential slate before.

Arthur L. Schechter, a Houston attorney, is currently serving in the following roles: Texas finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee and for the Clinton/Gore ’96 reelection campaign, managing trustee of the Democratic National Committee, Steering Committee – American Jews for Clinton, National Steering Committee for Clinton/Gore, Democratic National Committee: Business Leadership Forum, national vice chairman, National Jewish Democratic Council – national vice president, 21st Century Democrats: Texas chairman and Steering Committee – Unity ’96.