Tonight in Washington, Hadassah, the 306,000-member women's Zionist organization, plans to honor Hillary Rodham Clinton with its highest award at its annual convention.
But when the group announced her name last month, some of its members flashed back to May 1998, when the first lady said that "it would be in the long-term interests of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state." In the stubbornly zero-sum game of Middle East peace, this endorsement of Palestinian national aspirations -- the first by a major American public official -- made her a hero to Palestinians and a pariah among hard-line Zionists.
Last week, about 20 protesters, Hadassah members among them, burned a giant replica of a Hadassah membership card outside the group's New York headquarters and called the first lady "an enemy of Israel." In giving Clinton the award, they said, Hadassah was violating its almost century-old pledge to support Israel's interests.
At least one Hadassah member decided to protest less symbolically. Elaine Mintz, a Baltimore philanthropist and active member of the organization since the 1960s, deleted a six-figure donation to the group from her will, saying the choice of Clinton "desecrates the ideals" of the award.
Even that painful blow won't dissuade Hadassah officials, who think the first lady is "absolutely splendid," said one member.
Forbes Debuts as TV's Family Man
Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes unveiled television and radio ads in Iowa and New Hampshire yesterday that focus on his family and promises to appoint judges who share his opposition to abortion.
The new ads represent the second phase of a planned $10 million summer campaign to reintroduce the wealthy magazine publisher to voters. Forbes spent about $2 million on the opening round and is expected to spend about the same amount on the new ads.
Forbes's three television ads feature his wife, Sabina, and their five daughters, and are designed to make a man who is often described as a robotic candidate appear more human. But Forbes uses new radio ads to deliver more substantive messages. In one, he pledges to appoint judges who oppose abortion -- a position that contrasts with Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who has said he will have no litmus tests in his judicial selections.
Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a late entrant in the GOP presidential race, said in Iowa over the weekend that he agrees with Bush's position. Hatch, who also opposes abortion, said that no "self-respecting Republican candidate should bind himself or herself to any litmus test issues."
In another radio ad, Forbes urges the GOP candidates to debate before the Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 14. "We should have a serious debate, on the issues, now, before the straw vote," he said.
Bush Aide Resigns Over Assault Weapons
Texas Gov. George W. Bush lost his state finance chairman from Maine last week, apparently after inquiries about the fact that his company manufactures assault weapons. Ted Dyke resigned after two months, saying that Bush "doesn't have to justify" his support and that he did not want to be "any baggage" to the Bush campaign.
Dyke's company, Bushmaster Firearms Co., manufactures automatic weapons for government agencies and sells some semiautomatic weapons to civilians. Bush has said he supports a ban on assault weapons but signed legislation prohibiting Texas cities from suing gun manufacturers.
Staff writer Dan Balz contributed to this report.