[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[October 25, 1995]
[Pages 1680-1681]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a United Jewish Appeal Reception
October 25, 1995

    Thank you very much, Stan Chesley. Thank you for your friendship and 
for your leadership. Mr. Secretary, thank you for what you have done, 
along with Dennis Ross and so many others here to hasten the day of 
peace in the Middle East. Senator Lautenberg, distinguished foreign 
guests, my fellow Americans, and most of all, to Prime Minister and Mrs. 
Rabin and all the friends who are here from Israel, we're delighted to 
have you back.
    It is a great honor for me to receive this award, an honor amplified 
by its association with the United Jewish Appeal and with all of you who 
contribute so much to the UJA and its mission. But it's a special honor 
to receive it from the Prime Minister.
    As the journey toward Middle East peace advances, the courageous 
leadership and vision of the Prime Minister will become more clear to 
all the world, and they will serve not only the people of Israel but all 
people in our generation and those who will inherit the Earth.
    This is a time of remarkable progress for peace. You heard the 
Secretary talk about what we hope and pray will happen when the parties 
to the war in Bosnia meet in the next few days. We have seen a 
remarkable transformation in South Africa. In Northern Ireland they have 
laid down their arms, and we are working and hoping and praying for 
peace there. But nowhere has the progress been more dramatic and nowhere 
has it moved more people than in the Middle East.
    We have tried to be a full and reliable partner. I am proud of the 
agreements that we have worked hard to bring about. I am proud of the 
handshakes that sealed them, handshakes I never thought I would live to 
see. I'm not sure he did either. [Laughter] I am proud of our efforts to 
secure the economic underpinnings of the peace.
    We will continue to stand with the peacemakers. But let's be clear 
on one thing here: The real credit belongs to them. Could we have made 
peace in the Middle East had Israel not had a Prime Minister like the 
one who stands before us? He and the members of his government, but most 
of all, the Prime Minister, a man willing to risk his own political 
fortunes, a man who for decades had risked his own life to secure the 
life and the future of Israel. Could we have made it had it not been for 
King Hussein and had Chairman Arafat not determined that he would take a 
different course, if President Mubarak had not been supportive? Could we 
have made it if people who have already reached their mature years had 
not looked into the eyes of the young people of the Middle East, like 
the Israeli and Arab children who participated in the Seeds of Peace 

[[Page 1681]]

Can we make it stick without the Jewish and Arab-American business 
leaders who have pledged their personal efforts to bring the rewards of 
peace to all the people of the Middle East, without others in the region 
who are now supporting it?
    These are the people to whom the credit goes. It is the 
responsibility of the United States, at this moment in history, to do 
what we, and only we can do to try to be a force for freedom, for 
prosperity, and for peace.
    Each of us still has work to do, as I'm sure you all know. It takes 
many backs to bear the burden of peace and the awful burden of change, 
many hearts to conquer hatred with humanity, many hands to build a 
sturdy house within which all can live on honorable terms. No one can 
sit on the sidelines. This work is not done.
    The United States will remain a force for peace. We will continue to 
support those who take risks for peace, and yes, we will continue to do 
everything we can to minimize those risks. We will continue also and we 
will intensify our efforts to fight the forces of terror who would turn 
back the march of history. And we will continue to defend human rights 
and human dignity for all the people on this planet.
    The road ahead will not be easy, and it will not be even. But we 
must remain steadfast, remembering with Isaiah that those who do the 
Lord's work will have their strength renewed. I believe they will mount 
up with wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will 
walk and not faint.
    The United Jewish Appeal and all the committed donors who gather 
tonight give life to Isaiah's admonition. And in the United States and 
Israel and throughout the world, you renew our strength. In more than 50 
countries you bring hope and relief to the needy. I thank you for 
everything you do, for the hot meals for the homebound, the wheelchairs 
for the disabled, the shelter for the refugees, the comfort to the 
victims of Alzheimer's and AIDS, protecting the weakest among us, the 
newborn, the aged, the frail. To those who have lost their jobs, their 
homes, their way, or their strength, you have been their strength and a 
second chance.
    I think it's fair to say that all of us who believe that we are 
loved and cared for by one God, no matter how imperfect we are, know 
that our God is a God of second chances. That is what the movement for 
peace in the Middle East is all about.
    I thank you for reminding all of us of that and of our obligations 
to each other in one community. I thank you for what you've done to 
strengthen families and improve education, to honor traditions and 
celebrate culture, to embody the values that make this country a great 
    I thank you for this award. But let me say, more important than 
anything else, I look forward to our continued partnership as we 
struggle on behalf of peace and dignity and humanity. I leave here 
honored and doubly burdened by the instruction of the prophet Isaiah, 
``Cease to do evil; learn to do well. Prepare ye the way of the Lord.'' 
With God's will, that is exactly what we will do together.
    Thank you.
    I could tell you an interesting little aside here. When we were 
about to come out tonight, the Prime Minister insisted that I stand on 
his right, even though he's in the United States. In the American State 
Department, I am his host. Protocol dictates that he stand on my right. 
I told him that. [Laughter] He said, ``Tonight we reverse the order.'' 
[Laughter] Then I looked at all of you, and I looked back at him, and I 
said, ``Well, it's appropriate; after all, they may be more your crowd 
than mine.'' [Laughter]
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 7:30 p.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Room at 
the State Department. In his remarks, he referred to Stanley M. Chesley, 
cochairman, International Leadership Reunion; Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher; Dennis B. Ross, Special Middle East Coordinator; Prime 
Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and his wife, Leah; King Hussein of 
Jordan; Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority; and 
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.