As I count down the time until Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, which begins tomorrow at sundown), I find myself grieving over the state of this world of ours. In the course of Yom Kippur, we recite Viddui -- communal confessional prayers -- several times, beating our chest with our fist as we do so.
I am of the opinion that a world-wide Viddui with a great deal of breast-beating is in order. Forgive us, our Creator, for we have sinned. For the world is without moral compass.
On Wednesday, the day of Yom Kippur itself, Ahmadinejad will be addressing the General Assembly of the UN. He will not be barred from entering the US, and he will not be arrested for inciting to genocide. The Israeli government is asking at least that representatives of nations present in the hall get up and leave when he speaks. I have no illusions that any but a miniscule number of representatives will do so. Because the world is without a moral compass.
Because I am very careful to avoid sharing undocumented rumors, there are stories that make the rounds that I am reluctant to touch -- even as there is a growing conviction within me that they may be true. But sometimes I reach a tipping point at which I know it's time to write.
One of those stories has to do with how US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed. The story we were given after his death is that he was fleeing the Consulate with others on his staff and the car they were in was bombed.
But this is patently false, because I, along with millions of others, have seen the pictures of Stevens' body. It was not dragged from a car that had been burned, Stevens had apparently died in the Consulate. People on the scene dragged him out of a window, some shouting Alahu Akhbar -- the "God is Great" cry used by those who have attacked and killed an enemy of Islam.
I do not claim to have all of the answers. I do not know the truth of all the stories regarding what may have been done to Stevens or whether his body may have been dragged through the streets. My unease is that the Obama government is not interested in all of the answers, because those answers -- exposing what was done to an official representative of the US -- would require a far harsher response than Obama is interested in.
I have picked up this statement attributed to Secretary of State Clinton, alluding to a time before Stevens was named Ambassador this past May:
"I asked Chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. He arrived on a cargo ship in the port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya's revolutionaries."
If this is so, a whole lot of questions must be asked.
This is what analyst Barry Rubin had to say about the situation vis-a-vis Libya and the US in a piece he wrote yesterday. He has answers to the questions that Obama won't ask, at least not publicly (emphasis added):
"It is amazing how events in international affairs that would have been easily and accurately understood a decade ago are now surrounded by obfuscation and misunderstanding. Such is the case with Libya and the U.S. role there. Forget Obama's Cairo speech and all that bowing, apologizing, appeasing, and empathy. All of that is meaningless now.
"The facts are clear. Along with its NATO allies, the United States helped overthrow the dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi in Libya and installed a new regime. This government, non-Islamist, technocratic, and led by defected old regime politicians or former exiles, won the election and is now in power.
"What does this mean? Simple....In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims—especially the radicals but not just them—Libya is now an American puppet state. Most important of all it is not an Islamist Sharia state. The revolutionaries—a group including the Muslim Brotherhood, radical small groups, and the local al-Qaida affiliates--want to change that situation.
"How do you do that? One way is to attack the regime’s institutions...Another way is to assassinate officials. A tempting way to build popular support is to murder Americans. The killing of the ambassador and five other Americans...has nothing to do with a video made in California. It has everything to do with the Libyan Islamist revolution...It is nothing short of amazing that U.S. leaders don’t seem to recognize this.
"Have no doubt that the revolutionaries—including the Muslim Brotherhood—and a lot of others view Obama as just as bad as Bush. Obama’s attempts at appeasement have further convinced them that America is finished and easily bullied. In his speech of September 2010 calling for revolution in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad al-Badi explicitly said that.
"U.S. leaders don't seem to recognize this": I would suggest that these leaders have consciously chosen not to recognize it.
So where is the US? The obsequious, fawning Obama in the end has made no friends in the radical Muslim world -- in fact they see him as being as "bad" as Bush. However, they don't see him as being as strong as Bush -- that obsequious, fawning behavior has simply convinced them that he's weak. Bad AND weak. A lethal combination.
Way to go, Obama!
Lest you imagine that I believe it is only people outside of Israel who are daft, allow me to disabuse you of that notion here. I have in mind Ehud Barak, who is, Heaven help us, supposed to be our Defense Minister.
Barak has given an interview with Israel Hayom (to be published in full tomorrow) in which he proposes that the large settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria of Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim and Ariel be retained by Israel, along with strategic areas in the Jordan Valley and Samarian hills, and that dozens of other communities be evacuated and the land given to the Palestinian Arabs for a state.
"It would be best to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, but barring that, practical steps must be taken to begin the separation," he said.
"It would help us not only with the Palestinians, but with all the countries in the region, with the Europeans and with the American administration, and of course it would be beneficial to us."
This man, you should forgive me, is out of his gourd, to use the vernacular. The Palestinian Arabs are demanding everything past the '67 line and the EU and the US are strongly supporting that demand, as ludicrously unreasonable as it is.
Why does he imagine Israel's relationship with the Arabs and their supporters will improve if we say considerably less is all we're going to give them? Israel would only be attacked.
In fact, why would he even predicate such a move on the need to improve relationships with the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters instead of considering what is proper for Israel and protects Israel's rights? It is axiomatic -- satisfying the PA and its supporters requires making dangerous concessions.
The PA is weak politically and economically and is in no position to establish a viable state. What is more it is radicalized and riddled with support for terrorists. What we would have at our east in short order, were we to pull back, would be a terrorist state ruled by the likes of Hamas or worse. And the rulers that would emerge would not content themselves that they "had" a state.
They're not about to say, Nu, it's small but we can live with it. Rather, they would consider the area they controlled no more than a launching pad for attacks designed to bring down "the Zionist entity" so that they might rule all of "Palestine" under Sharia law.
Our Defense Minister's memory is so short that he has forgotten what happened when we pulled out of Gaza unilaterally?
This "plan" -- whatever its particulars -- is not going to fly here in Israel. I believe Barak full well knows this. His goal is a political one, as he courts the left here in this country and abroad by making this "bold" proposal.
This man cannot be retired soon enough for me.
Let it simply be said that we don't owe the Palestinian Arabs anything and they have no "right" to a state. They have blown every opportunity to acquire one legitimately and via serious state-building.
In theory (and it's only theory), the only way to achieve a peaceful situation with a Palestinian Arab state would be via extensive, good-faith negotiations in which matters such as borders were ironed out and mutually agreed upon. Absent this, there are ways to manage the Arab population in Judea and Samaria without giving them a state.
The Levy Report (about which I will be saying a great deal more) recognizes anew what many of us have known all along: We are not occupiers in Judea and Samaria. We have a right, based on historical and legal precedents, to build in these areas.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.