Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Bill Clinton visiting Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock in 2010

Unlike Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton actually knows many, many Palestinians – both in the Mideast and in the United States. And unlike Romney, who said that the economic disparities between Palestinians and Israelis are owed to a difference in “culture” (as he pandered to donors on his trip), the former President has frequently offered a very different opinion on this topic. Consider what he said on the subject of Palestinians and progress  during a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last year:

“Ever since I left office, I have tried to stay in touch with my friends in the Palestinian community and continue to press my friends in Israel on the case for peace. It is a different world than it was 10 years ago when we brought the Palestinians and the Israelis together to strike a peace agreement, but then the [underlying] realities have not changed; political realities have not changed.”

Praising the economic progress achieved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on the West Bank, Clinton continued:

“It is just an example of what would happen for the Palestinian people if they are given a chance to govern. Palestinians are a hard-working and an incredible community. They have done remarkably well outside their country. I have never met a poor Palestinian in the United States; every Palestinian I know is a college professor or a doctor.”

  • paulhobbs

    I appreciate Pres. Clinton’s perspective. The fact of the matter, though, is that he doesn’t know any poor people from any ethnic background. Where the hell would he meet any poor people? They’d never get past security anywhere he does business.

    • not true, he meets poopr people all the time. I have met him many times. He is very accessible at campaign events and lectures (free) and talks to anyone who wants to talk to him. Are we best buds and in “business together”? No, but he is a person who has gone out of his way in public life to get to know people of all economic, ethnic and status levels. The Clinton Global inititative is all about disadvantaged people around the globe, do you really think that he doesn’t talk to or know any of the folks he serves?

      • Theodora30

        Not to mention he grew up knowing a lot of poor people.

        • The firt poor, or middle class, people he met were his parents. Unlike the Roosevelt’s, Kennedy’s, Bush’s and now Mitt Romney both Clinton and Obama come from humble backgrounds, a fact that allows them to better understand the needs and aspirations of mainstream America and those of people worldwide.

    • howa4x

      He located his office in Harlem an afro american part of NYC so I’m sure he runs into poor people everyday

      • jerrimyers

        And Mr. Clinton has set up projects to deliver to poor people around the world just the basic drink of clean water where he saw such a desparate need. He may not be poor today, but he sees the poor and participates in many efforts to better their plight in life. It’s not Romney’s fault that he was born into a walk in life that produced a character that really can’t relate to the needs of others who are coming from a very different walk in life or who can’t understand their need for government to help them lift themselves. It appears to have made him a bully with alot of power. I hear many of Romney supporters say they are so opposed to “hand outs,” but they fail to recognize that Romeny was born into a “hand out.” I’m not begrudging him that at all, we all have our situations that we didn’t ask for or do anything to deserve, they just are our situation. But I strongly believe there’s nothing wrong with spending tax dollars to better those situations where the opportunities are lacking and allow all people to achieve. The rich and prosperous don’t need the government or government programs. The middle and poor do. Those programs have made America and Americans great. Who wouldn’t want all Americans to have the opportunities of the rich? Believing that the government (that’s us and our tax dollars) has no responsibility in improving the opportunity for the poor and middle just doesn’t make any sense to me. It is not only the right thing to do help the poor (yes, give to the poor–I think that is suppose to be a virtue), it is good for the country. The better off all Americans are the better America will be. to sum it up–Democratic Party Policy is based on that aim–The better off all Americans are the better America will be.

        • jarheadgene

          Romney’s attitude to the Poor , ” I don’t really give them much thought”
          Romney’s attitude to the uninsured, “Let them die.”
          Romney’s attitude to the Middle Class, “We’ve given YOU PEOPLE all we’re going to give.”

        • howa4x

          anyone who tells you that they are agianst govt hand outs should 1st renounce the give a way to big business. All the oil companies are paid to drill and agra business gets subsidys to grow corn. ADM gets a subsidy to produce Ethanol, and the list goes on and on.Oil company subsidies are far more than most of all the welfare that’s paid out, and speaking of welfare, Texas Instruments 1st big contract was to computerize the Texas welfare dept for 34 million. So lets join together to stop corporate welfare 1st.

      • emadis41

        Should he meet poor people to tell what the Palestinians are suffering under occupation, and international blindness toward their aspirations. Where we better-off under occupation? I do not think so, otherwise why did we revolted against the British.

        • howa4x

          Stop seniding suicide bombers and firing rockets. Stop calling for destruction of Israel and stop ripping off your own people and then people will take you seriously

          • emadis41

            Ask yourself, can you stop those who in the US who call for the destruction of the US, they are running for office and being elected. Here  we call it freedom of speech, there we call it terrorism. When we were under the rule of the British we used every mean available to us to rid ourselves from them, didn’t we.
            The Palestinians suffered as a result of the creation of Israel, they lost their homes, their livelihood and their country, like the Native Americans, whom the US gov. had driven out of their homes into “Reservations!”, the Palestinians were driven by force from their country into “Refugee Camps”. What should they do? Either they accept their fate or fight back, and not against Israel only, but against Europe and the US.
            After all, most of the Palestinians supported the Oslo peace deal in 1995, but it was Mr.Netanyaho who abrogated the treaty, and caused the Palestinians uprising.  Also, the US support of Israel right or wrong, as the Palestinians got nothing out of the treaty, they were encouraged to hold election, naturally the PLO government in office lost because of Israel reneging of the peace process; after which the Gaza strip was placed under seige, and isloated from the rest of the World. When you corner even a mouse, it will jump in your face.

            Do not blame the Palestinians alone, they are the victims, not the trasgressors.

          • howa4x

            It’s good to reinvent history isn’t it. Yassir Arrafat started the infatada after Sharon visited the tomb of Joseph located in the west bank. As for land being taken over the Palestinians left their land to join with the armies that attacked in 1948. they could have well just stayed in peace. when they lost the war, why did places like Jordan and Lebenon put them in refugee camps and not integrate them into the population like Jews who were forced to do after they were driven out of Israel by Islamic rulers. As for the Oslo accords Arrafat never closed the final deal, and it wasn’t Netanyahu who negotiated it it was Barak. Mistakes of judgement happened on both sides so how do they move from here is the question. I support a 2 state solution but neither partner is ready to make the sacrafices to make it happen. The palestianian authority is very corrupt, and that is why Hamas broke away. Now emboldened by the muslim brotherhood win in Egypt how will Hamas act? these are the questions

          • emadis41

            Wrong, the Muslims did not drive the Jews out of Palestine, it was the Romans after the 72 rebellion, featured in the Maccabees. Also, they resided in Ghettos and did not assimilate into the societies. I have Jewish relatives who testify to that. The Muslims, Jews and Christians lived under Muslim rule in peace, read your history and see who did what? Who drove the Muslims and Jews from Spain, Italy and France, who rounded the Jews and placed them into concentration camps, then sent them to the Holocaust? Was it the Muslims or the Christian Europe? Even in the 1948, the Arab did not attack the land designated for the Jews, the reveres is what happened. Israel was given 50% of the land and the Palestinians 50%, Israel now control all of Palestine except a sliver of land called Gaza Strip.
            I do agree with you that the two state solution is good, which is agreed upon by the majority of the Palestinians, but again, Mr. Netanyaho disagree and wanted to confiscate more Palestinian lands to put more settlements, now the settlments are dotting the West Bank, with settlers who are armed, and under no restrain to murder the Palestinians, burn their houses and Mosques. None of this is being told to you by the Media here.
            What I meant to say is that one should not jump into conclusions, and condemn people without understanding their position, example you said the Palestinian Authority is corrupt, and who is not, do Israel, or do we have no corruption. It is easy to attack people who do not have the means to defend themselves.

  • It is good to hear positive words from Bill Clinton. Still, it seems to me that the burden of achieving peace is on the Palestinians. All they have to do is renounce declarations about driving the Israelis into the sea, remove the hate filled text books for children, and drop the so called right of return (which has no precedent elsewhere) The lesson of Gaza is stark evidence that giving up settlements is perceived as a sign of weakness. Let the missiles stop, and then maybe talks can begin.

  • I Love Bill Clinton, he has a way with words. Think Mitt could learn something from him?????? I bet he could!!!!!!

  • howa4x

    The problem with the Palestinian culture is that they are divided into clans and those clans are autonomos. You can see it in Gaza. If a clan wants to launch a rocket into Israel no one stops them regardless of what negotiations are happening. The other problem with the Palstinian authority is the corruption. My neighbor was mixed palestinain/Israeli and he told me his brother wanted to open a Verizon store in Ramallah and the PA wanted a $ 100,000 kickback. Chinese cheap goods have put most small craftsmen out of business and they can only succed if their economy is linked to Israel or Jordan. Most of the people want to remerge with Israel but the israelis don’t want them, same for the Jordanians. Then there is the issue with the Palestinians living in Gaza who are controlled by Hamas and have vowed the destruction of Israel, so any deal with Abbas must have to take Gaza into account. Add in right wing control of Israel and we won’t see anything happening for a long time. Because of the other factors we won’t see the Palestinian controlled areas emerge as an economic factor for a long time, and will always need international support.

  • emadis41

    Thank you President Clinton, you just confirmed what I said before. Romney is showing how shallow he is, and how cozy he is with the extreme right and the evangilical rhetorics?

    As Pr. Clinton said, the Palestinians if they are given their freedom, they will fare much better than many other nations

    Mr. Romney, who is shallow on substance, is playing the racist card to get the vote of the racist at home, and unfortunately there is alot of them, something that we should have shed long ago.

  • overpaidCS

    The great Israeli and Palestinian peace accord under Clinton. I Googled it and read back issues of the WashPost and NYT and no one carried the story hmmmm
    Maybe that was your dream in the oval office with Monica and his cigar. billy can you name a few some of those palestinian “friends” for us??? Your friends in Palestine that you courted were terrorists an still are as witnesses by the daily rockets attacks on Israel

  • JohnRNC

    I think Mr. Overpaid didn’t look hard enough – On 14 September 1993, The Guardian & Observer in London ran the following:
    “Clinton brokers historic Middle East peace deal – Israeli-Palestinian accord appears to put a lasting settlement within reach”

    This meeting produced one of the only handshakes between a Palestinian leader and an Israeli Prime Minister. The accord obviously didn’t hold but Clinton got closer than anyone to resolving one of the major foreign policy issues of our time. Clinton got close again in Shepherdstown, WV in Jan 2000 with direct talks between Syria & Israel.

    The Bush Administration abandoned the US role in the middle east peace process. I believe that this issue more than any other is responsible for the unending “war on terror” that has sapped our economic strength and maimed a generation of soldiers.

    Clinton may not have “succeeded” in this arena but he understood the stakes and gave it an extraordinary effort. Certainly more than Bush or Obama, and certainly more than we can expect from a racist like Mitt Romney.

  • Pancha_Chandra

    Political depth has always been Bill Clinton’s trump card. President Obama is equally amazing. Let us hope the American electorate realize how lucky they are. As foreign observers we realize the Democrats have fielded amazing candidates devoted to core American values.

    Pancha Chandra Brussels