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Soon the American people will determine who will be their next president based upon one central issue: foreign policy. Why is this the Holy Grail of understanding? Because our domestic policies, as a result of 9-11, are being held hostage by our foreign policies!

John Kerry and George Bush need to talk about the real reason America was attacked. It was not because of our cultural heritage or our democratic way of life. Europe was a much easier target, and has plenty of both, but was not in the crosshairs.

The final report of the 9-11 commission was an eye opener. It stated that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the 9-11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong opposition to America’s support for Israel. Mohammed conceived the initial outline of the attack six years before its execution and brought the plan to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, because he knew he did not have the resources to carry it out on his own.

There was only one sheriff in town setting down foreign policy during those six years. Precisely what was Bill Clinton’s policy on terrorism? It was appeasement. Instead of fighting terrorism, he chose to feed it. Like Neville Chamberlain, Clinton believed that, in doing so, the terrorists would leave America alone.

A prime example of this deluded strategy was his attitude toward Yasser Arafat. One of Clinton’s greatest hopes was to go down in history as the man who finally resolved the Arab-Israeli conflict. In order to do that, Arafat had to be transformed from a murderer into a diplomat – from the arch terrorist who invented airplane hijacking and who was behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, among countless other atrocities. As part of the president’s effort to do so, Arafat became the most welcomed foreign leader at the White House during the Clinton years.

Clinton’s Middle East initiative involved an extraordinarily far-reaching offer that would give Arafat almost everything he said he wanted: 98 percent of the territory of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, all of east Jerusalem except for the Jewish and Armenian quarters of the Old City, Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount (conceding only the right of Jews to pray there), and a compensation fund of $30 billion.

Arafat instead turned down this offer of a peaceful settlement and chose to declare a terrorist war, one that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians over the past four years and has made the Middle East even more unsafe than before. But is America a safer place as a result of this strategy? Could America be safer as a result of making such promises to the Arafats of the world?

Still in the aftermath of 9-11, we seem to be on a fast track back to Clinton’s worldview of moral relativism. Will terrorists now be divided into good ones and bad ones based upon their declared intentions? Will there be an amnesty policy that allows bad ones to denounce terrorism – whether they mean it or not – as Arafat did in his famous “I denounce terrorism” speech to the U.N. General Assembly in 1988?

Nine years ago, the U.S. Congress voted in favor of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Why has the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 been held up every six months by a presidential “national security” waiver? Is it because we actually believe that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will somehow threaten our national security? In light of 9-11, that makes about as much sense as giving bin Laden family members frequent-flyer miles when they flew home on chartered planes a few days after 9-11.

When a former U.S. attorney general and Democratic presidential candidate was murdered in 1968, no one asked whether it could have been over foreign policy. In fact, Robert Kennedy was the first American politician murdered by a Middle Eastern terrorist, Sirhan Sirhan. He was murdered on June 5, the same day he won the California primary. It was also the first anniversary of the outbreak of the Six Day War.

Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli chief of general staff during that war and a future ambassador to America and prime minister, had been invited to join Kennedy for a photo op to commemorate the outcome of the war. He clearly recognized the connection between the two events, as he wrote in his memoirs: “The American people was so dazed by what it perceived as the senseless act of a madman, it could not begin to fathom its political significance.”

Rabin’s words could indeed describe America’s present-day lingering confusion over 9-11. For what was the political significance of Robert Kennedy’s tragic assassination? According to a report by a special counsel to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Sirhan shot Kennedy because of his support for Israel, and had planned the murder for months.

As Sirhan stated in an outburst at his trial: “I killed Robert Kennedy, willfully, premeditatedly, and with 20 years of malice aforethought.” (Twenty years referred to Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948. Kennedy, fresh out of Harvard in 1948, was a reporter for the Boston Globe and, in fact, was in Israel when statehood was declared.)

America must not allow itself to be held hostage any longer by bigot-infested, oil-rich Arab regimes that consider Jews “pigs and monkeys,” Christians “infidels,” and America “the great Satan.” The war on terrorism cannot be won without a war on bigotry. Let’s hope someone in the crowd can get the attention of the candidates with a timely reminder that “It’s about our foreign policy, stupid.”

Ariel Sharon once said, “The Arab world may have the oil, but we have the matches.” With Iran’s nuclear program on a fast track, those matches are getting uncomfortably close to the oil.

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