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October 24, 2003 - Image 71

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-24

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L-4=1- FR


SB: I grew up in a mostly Jewish
neighborhood and most people I knew
were secular, as most American Jews
are. In many respects I had a com-
pletely typical American childhood. I
attended Hebrew school and was bar
At the same time, everyone I knew
had a Jewish identification, a sense of
values, and it was not something peo-
ple just wore on their sleeve. It was
very much part of the fabric of the
community I grew up in.

JN:You were recently in Israel?
SB: I just came back from Israel, and it
was a profound, mesmerizing and won-
derful experience being there, wonderful
to be with my friends there and to be
engaged with the kind of life that goes
on there. But it was also depressing.

JN: What are your thoughts on the
Middle East situation?
SB: Although I was in the White
House, I was not a Middle East expert.
My feeling is that the basis for any two-
state agreement has to be what
President Clinton negotiated with [for-
mer Israeli Prime Minster Ehud] Barak.
I don't believe that Arafat has any
commitment to a Palestinian state.
He's responsible for destroying what
would have established a Palestinian
state and he ultimately acknowledged
that the Clinton proposal was the best
possible agreement. But his own com-
mitment to his survival as he under-
stands it, and the corruption and ter-
rorism that surrounds him, makes
Arafat an obstacle to any final status
And that's where we are. The poten-
tial for tragedy becomes greater over
time and the triumph of shortsighted
polices does not necessarily lead to a
long-term security or fulfillment in the

Madam Secretary: A Memoir. Author
Madeleine Albright, secretary of state
under Bill Clinton, recounts how she
came to the United States as a refugee
from eastern Europe and grew up to be
one of the most powerful women in
Washington, while discussing her per-
sonal joys as a daughter, wife and
mother and struggles as the lone
woman at many a negotiating table.
Albright is Book Fair's closing speaker,
5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, at the JCC in
West Bloomfield; $10.

larger goals that Israel, above all, repre-
sents. It's worrisome to say the least.

JN: How does the television show
The West Wing compare to the real
SB: I've only seen a few episodes, but I
like the early parts of The West Wing
because it depicts public service as
something positive, which it is.
The offices on the television show
are much nicer than those in the
White House. (Blumenthal's office, he
writes in his book, was once the White
House barbershop.)

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JN: In your book, you talk about
your bout with colon cancer, which
you successfully beat.
SB: "I studied policy on it and, as a
result, President Clinton picked up this
cause and the rules were changed so
that everybody can be screened for this
form of cancer under Medicare today."

JN: Anything else you want to add
about your White House experience?
SB: It was the most important expe-
rience in my life. I was able to con-
tribute to the country in a way that
very few people are able to do. It's an
immense responsibility. You see first-
hand how much presidents do mat-
ter. It really does matter who's in the
White House and what they do.
What happens depends in great
measure on the intelligence and the
action of the president. ❑

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"Pure perfection."'

—Kate Lawson, Detroit News


—Keely Wy o
Observer &

(248) 888-4888
24369 Halsted

(just North of Grand River)

(S.E. corner of 14 & Middlebelt)

Sidney Blumenthal opens the
Jewish Book Fair 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Jewish
Community Center in West
Bloomfield; $5. (248) 432-5577.



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