Open letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton from Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery:
translated from 24/Aug/1998 Ma'ariv
Come on, let's stop the nonsese.
Today is the first day of the rest of your tenure.
You can go on as before, and leave office as a joke in U.S. history books.
The sax player who has turned himself into the sex player.
To go on preoccupied by Monica and her ilk, a target for every bimbo you
To go on lying to cover up old lies.
To go on boasting of achievements not of your making, claiming feathers
that belong in another's cap.
To go on taking credit for the American economic boom, flourishing because
of its own internal strength, not because of anything particular either you or
your government have done.
To stage cheap shows, like the one you staged on the lawn of the White
House after Arafat and Rabin had taken the courageous step in Oslo, behind
your back and without involving you in any phase of the process.
To flutter like a leaf in the face of every world crisis, without a clear
line of action, with no strategy, with no clear objective.
Let's face the facts: You got to your exalted position because,
at the time, after Desert Storm, when George Bush seemed invincible, no
strong Democratic candidate was willing to offer his candidacy. You, a not
particularly successful governor of a not particularly important state,
took up the challenge, having nothing to lose. You dared and succeeded.
My hat is off to you and to the magnificent Hillary.
But throughout the six years of your presidency, you have yet to do a single
thing which would secure your place in history. You have always been a great
speaker, for us as well, as you demonstrated at Rabin's funeral. You
have a capacity to radiate credibility, to shed a quiet tear when the
occasion calls for it, to make a joke at the right moment. All fine and
good. But what about actions?
Now even these modest achievements have been buried under a wave of ridicule.
You have managed to turn the only world superpower into the laughingstock of
the world. Every Sadam Hussein, every Benjamin Netanyahu, every Bin Laden
can taunt you with impunity.
With a whole lot of luck you could coast in this manner for another two years.
You could swing from crisis to crisis, dispatching the occasional missiles
to blow up "terrorist targets," just to prove that you are still around, a
kind of Netanyahu clone.
But you could chose a different path. You could decide to dedicate your last
two years in the White House to make your mark in the history books as a great
president, after all.
For this to happen, you must first get rid of all the extra weight which you
have accumulated. Do not court easy popularity. Do not try to evade the
struggle to achieve serious goals. Set yourself suitable goals and
stick to them.
Refrain from acting as an agent for Vice President Al Gore's election
campaign. Do not coddle the electorate nor special-interest groups vital
for his election. If he is worthy of it -- and this is not at all clear
-- let him take care of himself.
Find yourself a real Secretary of State. Send auntie Albright packing.
Pick someone like James Baker. As a matter of fact -- pick James Baker.
Learn to pound the table, to disregard those bought senators, to act in the
real American national interest.
The Israeli-Arab conflict is poisoning the Middle East, turning the entire
region into a festering swamp breeding mosquitoes of terror. It will lead
to the takeover of the majority of the Moslem world by Islamic
fundamentalism, to the collapse of all of the pro-American regimes, to war
Speaking as an Israeli patriot, I would like to point out to you that the
U.S. is also a signatory to the Oslo Accords. As such, you should
eliminate the entire pathetic bunch currently handling this matter on your
behalf. Inform Mr. Netanyahu that if he persists in violating the Accords
every step of the way, the wrath of the the mighty American arm will
descend on him. Put a stop to the settlements scandal, to land
confiscations, to the destruction of homes, and to the blocking of free
passage between Gaza and the West Bank. See to it that the three
withdrawal steps are carried out as agreed upon. Bring both sides to
serious negotiations on permanent status.
If you chose this path, you will incur the wrath of many. Our crazy right
wing will undoubtedly brand you an antisemite. Senators and Congressmen
elected by the right-wing Jewish lobby will go on a rampage against you.
But when peace comes, you will be the hero of both the people of Israel
and of Palestine, which can only count in your favor at home.
So, too, should you act in Kosovo, in Africa and everywhere where peace,
freedom and democracy are endangered. It is your duty as the leader of
the sole superpower.
Pull yourself up and go forth. You have nothing to lose but the jokes at
-- End --