Former DNC chairman and Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe wrote in his 2007 book What A Party that former Palestinian National Authority president Yasser Arafat rubbed his leg awkwardly and kissed him on the lips at a dinner in 2000 hosted by his friend Hani Masri, a Palestinian-American businessman. McAuliffe describes being uncomfortable at the gestures.
The passage reads:
Hani invited Dorothy and me to join six other guests at the Prime Rib to meet Arafat and discuss issues. When Arafat arrived at the restaurant, Hani had him sit right next to me. We talked about what was happening in the Middle East and Arafat had all kinds of questions about U.S. politics and of course about Bill Clinton. The dinner soon became somehow comical for me. Arafat would get very animated when he spoke and every time he was making a point, he would lean over and rub my leg under the table. He'd be saying something to the whole table full of people and then would look right at me, emphasizing a point, and rub up and down my leg. That is not something men normally do to me when I sit down for dinner with them. I just couldn't visualize my friend ariel Sharon rubbing my leg when I talked to him.
Dorothy went the whole meal laughing at how uncomfortable I obviously was. She knew this was unique for me given my Irish Catholic heritage. What would the nuns at St. Anns think? As interested as I was in the conversation, after a while it started getting awkward having my leg rubbed so much and I looked forward to the end of the meal. Finally it was time to go and as we stood up to shake hands Arafat laid a big ole wet kiss right on my lips. I wasn't ready for that one.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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