Rudy - Now More Than Ever: Some Things Are Not For Sale
The attacks of September 11th, 2001 were the greatest crisis that New York City had ever faced. In addition to the catastrophic human toll, NYC was faced with the monumental task of cleanup and rebuilding of the WTC site itself. New York needed all the help it could get. A $10 million dollar donation could certainly ease some of the burden of this effort.
Despite the great need, Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided that somethings are not for sale. Hizzoner decided that the courage, honor, and dignity that New Yorkers displayed in the face of this great evil topped that list.
The donation itself had come with a price: tacit acceptance of the validity of the Saudi Prince's statements when the donation was made:
"[the U.S.] should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause."
"While the U.N. passed clear resolutions numbered 242 and 338 calling for the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip decades ago, our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek,"
Rudy decided the price was too high:
"I entirely reject that statement," said Hizzoner. "There is no moral equivalent for this [terrorist] act. There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people."
"...one of the reasons I think this happened is because people were engaged in moral equivalency in not understanding the difference between liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel, and terrorist states and those who condone terrorism."
The easy call would have been to take the check. NYC needed the money. The Saudi's are one of the most important strategic allies the U.S. would count on in the upcoming conflict. Offending them could come at great cost.
Sometimes principled leadership requires making difficult and unpopular decisions; like some things cannot be bought at any price.