President George W. Bush finally liberated himself from Condoleezza Rice. There's no question that for most of his presidency he'd been DUI, driving under the influence of his secretary of state, but finally, last week in Israel, he came out and revealed himself to be a Zionist Christian. In fact, that's exactly what Palestinian Arabs are saying, and without gladness.
Bush mentioned the Palestinian Arabs only once in his 23-minute speech to the Knesset.
Seldom do we hear Israeli politicians so eloquent, so Biblical, in defense of Israel.
Even before that, upon arrival, Bush mentioned the Jewish longing for Jerusalem, yes, Jerusalem, and if that didn't surprise the Israelis, it sure surprised Condi, who wants Jerusalem spliced in half. In the Knesset, Condi was a woman scorned when Bush said this: "The source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul."
The camera panned the audience and froze on Condi, or rather she froze, stunned in bitterness. She'd been betrayed. Seated next to her was her Israeli counterpart and fellow post-Zionist, Tzipi Livni, and though they've bonded, this wasn't a typical Girls Night Out. Condi was the picture of resentment.
Condi (it's no secret) equates Israel with the civil rights movement in America. It's Birmingham, Alabama all over again, only here they speak Hebrew. The Israelis, in her eyes, are the oppressors; the Arabs, the oppressed. She's had a final solution in place from the start, in which Israel was to be cut in half to make room for a "contiguous" Palestinian state.
She wanted this and she wanted this now. Bush, for the longest time, was of the same mind (or so it seemed), but last week he stopped being henpecked and became his own man, saying that peace between the Israelis and the Arabs would come eventually, perhaps in decades, but not today or tomorrow.
This was a departure from State Department policy, whose agenda has always been concession after concession for a Jew-free zone within the borders of Israel - immediately. Bush fooled everyone. He was more Jewish than the Jews. Seldom do we hear Israeli politicians so eloquent, so Biblical, in defense of Israel.
This troubled Condi, who now faced the question of what went wrong. Who got to him and who knew? Who knew he was so Jewish?
(As a lame-duck, his term soon to expire, Bush is "free at last!")
The Arab leadership dismissed the speech as a betrayal and speaking for them was Yossi Beilin, who cited the speech as "a shame and a scandal." Beilin would have preferred Bush to curse Israel, like the Balak of Scriptures, but instead, Bush blessed Israel like Bilaam who could not help himself but heap praise, as in: "How goodly thy tents O Jacob, thy dwelling places O Israel."
That, in fact, was Bush's speech in a nutshell. He departed from the State Department Playbook; instead, and remarkably, he harkened to the Torah's Book of Numbers.
Beilin is Jewish (or so we are told), but is post-Zionist, post-Jewish, post-Torah, a legislator who still believes that Oslo was a success. Surely, Beilin, Ehud Olmert, Livni and the rest of the "we can never give them enough" tribe will be operating behind the scenes to undo the "damage" done by Bush and restore Condi to her post as Israel's Rosa Parks, the lady who refused to sit in back of the bus.
We can expect Condi to come back for a final try at a Kumbaya Summer of Love.
So, finagling around her boss, the president, operating in stealth, we can expect Condi to come back for a final try at a Kumbaya Summer of Love. This means that Israel will be asked to give up more territory for "the sake of peace and security," no doubt modeled after Gaza, which endures as a sample of the rewards to be expected from painful concessions.
So this isn't over until it's over, or until the fat lady sings - or rather, the skinny lady with a decided chip on her shoulder against the Jewish People.
Yet - and yet - funny things happen on the Road to Jerusalem. Even donkeys speak and even curses turn into blessings.
Jack Engelhard's latest novel, the newsroom thriller The Bathsheba Deadline, is now ready in paperback and available from Amazon.com and other outlets. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel Indecent Proposal, which was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore.