I don’t know what’s going on in the N.Y. Times op ed section. First they publish anti-Obama smears by Ed Luttwak, then a call for nuclear attack on Iran by Benny Morris. Now they’ve given column inches to one of America’s foremost Jewish neocons who argues that Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich was a perfectly valid and defensible use of presidential power.
This is really a novelty. Almost every Democrat I know finds Clinton’s actions in the closing hours of his presidency to be reprehensible. And here comes someone who long ago ceased (if he ever was one) being a Democrat. What’s he doing defending Bill Clinton? And what does it say about Clinton that someone like Lipsky, founding editor of the N.Y. Sun, is his full-throated defender?
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as I read this column so that Lipsky would reveal what his real agenda was (it certainly wasn’t to defend Eric Holder’s attorney general nomination as Lipsky claimed). I found it here:
Mr. Clinton mentioned foreign policy concerns as well: he’d been urged to pardon Mr. Rich by “many present and former high-ranking Israeli officials of both major political parties and leaders of Jewish communities in America and Europe.” He said they had cited Mr. Rich’s “contributions and services to Israeli charitable causes, to the Mossad’s efforts to rescue and evacuate Jews from hostile countries, and to the peace process through sponsorship of education and health programs in Gaza and the West Bank.”
All in all, the president’s explanation struck me as the statement of a man who, whatever faults he may have shown in office, understood the pardon power in the way the founders of America intended.
No, Seth, Clinton didn’t mention “foreign policy concerns.” He mentioned the Israel lobby, which was pushing hard for Rich’s pardon. As for whether Bill Clinton was channeling the founding fathers when he gave Marc Rich a free pass–that’s true only if the latter were greedy, unprincipled SOBs who believed doing favors for their friends, allies and fixers took precedence over the national interest. Only if the founders believed that lobbying by foreign powers and those associated with them should take precedence over sound judicial practice.
I’d really like to know just what “education and health programs” Rich sponsored on behalf of Palestinians. I’ve never known Marc Rich to support Palestinians in any shape or form.
Personally, I don’t believe the Rich pardon should prevent Eric Holder from serving as Obama’s A.G. But to try to manipulate the issue in order to backdoor a defense of Bill Clinton and the Israel lobby’s reprehensible behavior in this instance is not kosher.
“As for whether Bill Clinton was channeling the founding fathers when he gave Marc Rich a free pass–that’s true only if the latter were greedy, unprincipled SOBs who believed doing favors for their friends, allies and fixers took precedence over the national interest. Only if the founders believed that lobbying by foreign powers and those associated with them should take precedence over sound judicial practice.”
Bravo Mr. Silverstein.
I was curious about Marc Rich’s philanthropic activities on behalf of Arabs and Palestinians. According to the Rich Foundation Web site “over 20 years more than $135’000’000 were allocated to approximately 4000 projects and individuals engaged in non-profit work in education, culture, social welfare and healthcare all over the world.” The global scope of the Rich Foundation’s activities is kind of staggering and while Israel is very well represented in their list of beneficiaries, the Foundation definitely helps a lot of people. I noted a program aimed at creating sign language for deaf Arabs, another that promoted expanded educational opportunities for Israeli Druze and Bedouin and funding to UNESCO, the Palestine Authority, Morocco, Kuwait and Uzbekistan. That’s not bad, even for an indicted tax evader.
I don’t know what drives Marc Rich, but whatever he is accused of having stolen from the US tax payer, he sure seems hell bent on trying to make up for it.
Nonetheless, Rich should have gone to trial. Now he can claim that he was never convicted – and he never was – and with the ill-advised Presidential pardon, the presumption of innocence weighs in his favor, no matter how distasteful.