Tags: Hillary | Sent | 'Best | Wishes' | Muslims

Hillary Sent 'Best Wishes' to Muslims

Sunday, 05 November 2000 12:00 AM

Clinton penned the "Dear Friends" letter on White House stationery to the American Muslim Alliance for its gathering on Long Island in 1998, praising the group for "your efforts to encourage others to work to make their voices heard."

The note is the second to surface in the last couple of days from Clinton to the Arab-American group.

The latest revelation led GOP opponent Rick Lazio's campaign to wonder yesterday whether leaders of the group are "Hillary Clinton's pen pals."

The other letter thanked them for a fund raiser on her behalf, although she had publicly denied knowing the organization was involved in the event.

At the 1998 convention, keynote speaker Stanley Cohen told the audience that the "true terrorists are the state of Israel and its supporter, the United States, in perpetuating the victimization of the Palestinians in their own land," according to an account on Middle East Affairs in the magazine Washington Report.

Cohen confirmed his remarks, telling the Post that the magazine's report on his speech was "absolutely" accurate.

"Those are clearly my sentiments, my comments," said Cohen, a Manhattan lawyer.

At the meeting, Cohen also called a Hamas leader his "brother," explained how he came to understand Palestinians by living in a refugee camp, and said that only through struggle can an oppressed people gain its rights, according to the report.

Cohen is the lawyer for Abdurahman Alamoudi, whose $1,000 contribution to Clinton was returned after it was revealed that Alamoudi had hailed the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups.

Another speaker at the conference referred to the "genocide" of the Palestinian people, which he charged was by "extraordinary attention to detail by the Jews."

A copy of Clinton's letter of greeting to the conference is posted on Washington Report's Web site. The first lady did not attend the conference.

"Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful convention," she wrote to the American Muslim Alliance.

Michael Marr, a spokesman for GOP Senate candidate Rick Lazio, asked: "Are these people Hillary Clinton's pen pals?"

"Doesn't she care that the use of White House stationery gave credibility to anti-American, anti-Israel viewpoints that deserve no such credibility?" Marr said.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said, "Is there anyone other than Rick Lazio who thinks Hillary Clinton would agree with those statements?

"We obviously reject such statements. This is a two-year-old, perfunctory letter."

Washington Report magazine, which is dedicated to American policy in the Mideast, is nonpartisan. The magazine's editorial policy supports the right of Israel to exist and promotes Palestinian and Arab causes.

The American Muslim Alliance's third annual conference, titled "Co-authoring America's Vision of Itself," took place Oct. 3, 1998, in Hempstead. Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta opened the conference.

Clinton is already under fire from opponent Lazio for a thank-you note she wrote to the American Muslim Alliance after telling reporters she wasn't aware the group had sponsored a fund raiser for her campaign.

The first lady said yesterday her campaign has sent out the checks to refund about $50,000 raised at the June 13 Boston fund raiser after the Arab-American organization claimed it was behind the event.

Clinton last week denied knowing about the group's involvement, but on Friday a White House letter to the group surfaced, and it had been written a month after the fund raiser.

Clinton said the note was a form letter, and her signature had been put on it by an "autopen" machine.

Copyright 2000 NYP Holdings Inc. All rights reserved.

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Clinton penned the Dear Friends letter on White House stationery to the American Muslim Alliance for its gathering on Long Island in 1998, praising the group for your efforts to encourage others to work to make their voices heard. The note is the second to surface in...
Sunday, 05 November 2000 12:00 AM
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