I just got back from Rabin Square, from what I have to call a disappointing and sad night. This is the fourth year in a row that I attended a memorial to Rabin. There is no question that this was the biggest crowds, no doubt a result of the fact that President Clinton was the main speaker. I had spent a great deal of time this week thinking about my retrospective article on Rabin for Newsweek. They decided to call it The Hope that Died with Rabin a title that I think was very accurate. I am sorry to say that no one tonight managed to say what I think I wrote. Clinton came closest of the speakers, and not by coincidence he was closer to Rabin then any of the other speakers, other than of course his family members who spoke briefly. President Obama also spoke via a prerecorded video and he too was excellent.
I am not sure what it means when the most forceful and best speakers memorializing an Israeli Prime Minister are Americans, but it can’t be good for us. Part of the problem as tried to convey in my Newsweek article is the attempt to make the killing of Rabin into a lesson on tolerance. But it is not. It was the successful action of the right to stop the peace process. It’s not clear if it was going to succeed, but having Netanyahu our Prime Minister a great deal of the time since the assassination cannot have been good for the chances of peace. Having the event sponsored by the Youth movement that required unanimity is certainly problematic. The fact that Bnei Akiva and Beitar could block Shimon Peres from speaking at the memorial is very problematic to say the least. No one was able to say what is most clear- Rabin believed we needed hope and believed in hope- Netanyahu believes only in fear.
A final point that I have told before- but I can’t help but repeat. I had the honor of sharing the stage with Rabin, one evening at of all places the amphitheater on Mt Scopus the same place he spoke after the Six Day War. A much more personal accounter took place with Leah Rabin, I was in the army a lone soldier and one Friday afternoon the phone rings, and on the line was Leah Rabin the Prime Minister wife. She had met my Mother at Bond Breakfast in the US and just called to give me my Mom’s regards, and ask how I was doing.