The stomach-turning spectacle of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the terrorist who planted the bomb on Pam Am 103 in December, 1988, killing 270, being welcomed in Libya as a hero makes you lose hope that there is any justice in the world. What was the Scottish government thinking? That because this cold-blooded killer was terminally ill he should die in freedom rather than rot in jail where he belongs? And the Scots have the gall to call this compassionate. Where is the compassion for the families whose lives were destroyed when this monster blew their loved ones into oblivion? Did the Scottish government, and their justice minister Kenny MacAskill, think even one bit of the additional horrors they were going to visit on the families when they saw their loved one's barbaric murderer being carried aloft as a returning conqueror?
I lived in Europe for 11 years and I learned that Europe has lost the capacity to hate evil. Amorality that masquerades as modern liberal sensibility has left the continent morally bankrupt when it comes to truly punishing evil. Who will ever forget that Germany chose to release the Black September terrorists who killed the 11 Israeli athletes at Munich or that Italy granted Youssef Majed al-Molqi, convicted of killing Leon Klinghoffer aboard the Achille Lauro and sentenced to 30 years, a 12-day furlough which he used to flee to Spain, where he was recaptured and extradited back to Italy and then released 2009 this year 'on good behavior.' The most notorious incident, of course, was Norway's awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat.
Decent people everywhere ought to punish the Scottish government, should MacAskill choose not to resign, by calling for an economic boycott of whiskey and other Scottish goods. The same would apply to the British government and what Kaddafi referred to as his 'good friend [Gordon] Brown' should they be implicated in this outrage. Governments that do deals with the devil ought to pay a price.
But the person whom we must most punish most is Libyan dictator Muammar Kaddafi. I published an article a few days ago revealing that this September Kaddafi is going to be my direct next-door neighbor in New Jersey where he plans to pitch his Bedouin tent as he arrives for the new United Nations session. Kaddafi is being courted by President Obama, who met with him at the G8 Summit in Italy and speculation now is that he will be greeted even more warmly in New York.
But as I mentioned in my column, Kaddafi ought to be judged by his actions and the open mind that I declared I harbored for Kaddafi, in light of his overtures to the West and his restitution payment to the Pan Am 103 families, has now been slammed shut. Kaddafi has now shown that he was proud of the terrorist outrage he engineered and has no remorse whatsoever. Ronald Reagan was right. Any man who can hold up a killer as a hero is indeed 'the mad dog of the Middle East.'
President Obama has thusfar been weak on tyrants. He has curtsied to the Saudi dictator King Abdullah and warmly embraced the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. In a stunning reversal of the Bush administration's pressure on Egypt to democratize, last week President Obama accorded a warm welcome to dictator Hosni Mubarak. Indeed, the only world leader that Obama has pressured is the democratically-elected leader of the State of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, whom Obama ambushed in their private meeting at the White House last May with a demand for a total freeze on settlements, which would absurdly include a ban even on adding a room to a home in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Now is the time for our president to show that he takes his duties as the leader of the free world seriously. He must utterly condemn Kaddafi and his son for lionizing a mass-murderer and he must declare his refusal to meet or greet Kaddafi on his upcoming visit. Second, the president should recall the United States Ambassador to the UK pending a full investigation into the role of the British government in the release of a terrorist mastermind.
We the residents of Englewood, NJ, which includes 600 orthodox Jewish families and where Kaddafi plans to hole up, must come out forcefully against his visit. We are peace-loving people and we don't want a terrorist funder and lover in our midst. Already, my friend Senator Frank Lautenberg told me on the phone, for public attribution, that Kaddafi's visit to New Jersey was "an assault on integrity and decency. We cannot celebrate the life of a man who engineers the murder of 270 people and we do not want to see this man in our state."
For more than 25 years the Libyan Mission to the UN has refused to pay even one dollar of tax to our city, citing diplomatic exemption, even though they have already used their diplomatic allowance for their Ambassador's residence in New York. Our city, which has been soft on the Libyan mission until now, must sue to obtain 25 years worth of taxes. I have no desire to work so that my money can be used to take away Libyan trash. If they have literally millions of dollars to spend sprucing up their property for a week's visit by their dictator then surely they have millions to pay for the basic services they have been enjoying for the last quarter century.
I don't want this man as my direct neighbor and I want my fence and trees back. The Libyan construction workers pulled out my fence and cut down my trees without so much as informing me, let alone asking me. I always speculated that they cut down my trees so that they could spy on my house for security purposes. Well, they ought to know they have nothing physically to fear from me. I am not one of Kaddafi's terrorist buddies. I live by a religion that has forever established the infinite value of every human life. But if they don't restore my trees and fence to what they were, immediately, then I will sue them so that Libyan money goes to peaceful projects like planting trees rather than blowing up planes.
Yes, we are mad as well and we won't take it any more.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of 'This World: The Values Network.' His upcoming book is The Blessing of Enough. Being published on September 8th. www.shmuley.com.
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