Scoring a president of the United States as guest speaker on September 11 is no mean feat — even if he’s not the one in office.
In one of the two speeches he gave on the fifth anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks, former President Bill Clinton addressed United Jewish Communities’ International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington. (His other appearance was at the unveiling of a statue in Bayonne, N.J.)
The matchmaker was Susan K. Stern, chair of the board of directors of the UJA-Federation of New York and a veteran of both Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and Hillary’s 2000 run for the Senate. Our sources say that Clinton spoke for free.
But that’s not to say that the address was free of substance. Clinton lamented the fragile state of Afghanistan today and, in a thinly veiled jab at the sitting president, derided the practice of “hit-and-run democracy.”
“We have got all the military power in the world,” he said to the 1,500 in attendance, “but insurgencies are about the long run; they are never defeated by military power alone.”
UJC’s Lions of Judah is made up of women who donate more than $5,000 in a given year. The conference is known for drawing big names. Other speakers at the gathering were United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and American Jewish World Service’s president, Ruth Messinger.