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Ariel Sharon: The American Version

All Jews are not Israelis, and not everybody in Israel felt the same tug for Ariel Sharon that Joe Biden did. 

At the memorial service for the former prime minister, the Vice President of the U.S. said: "He was indomitable. But like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a north star that guided him. A north star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated. His north star was the survival of the state of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they resided."

How could Sharon guide the Jews from afar? Is there an assumption, that does not even sound plausible, that all Jewish people owe allegiance to Israel, and not only for/as a Holy Land? (Must we factor in the Jews who migrated to Israel from different parts of Europe, after the state defied the UN resolution of 1947?) Is this about Zionism, which Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, both Jews, spoke out against? Is this about the Jews being under threat wherever they are? Would that not include those in the United States as well? 

If we look the other way, Biden might just have been following that north star himself, for his statement appears to fit in with what Sharon had once said — “We control America”. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee makes all the forces of the world powerless against it, including the UN, as the American veto is there to block any condemnation of war crimes.

President Barack Obama's statement read: “We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.”

And how does the President propose to do so, when Sharon's own role as peacemaker was suspect? In fact, as Robert Fisk wrote: "By the time of his political and mental death in 2006, Sharon – with the help of the 2001 crimes against humanity in the US and his successful but mendacious claim that Arafat backed bin Laden – had become, of all things, a peacemaker, while Arafat, who made more concessions to Israeli demands than any other Palestinian leader, was portrayed as a super-terrorist."

The U.S. establishment needs no reason to support Israel, but it helps if there is a larger purpose, a 'moral' fight. What better than the Al Qaeda and 9/11, never mind that George Bush was more cozy with Saudi Arabia than Arafat could ever hope to, or even wished to, be. 

That Sharon's rise to power included the killing of nearly 2000 refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatilla, and 30 years before that the slaughter of Qibya, do not qualify as terrorism for certain leaders. 

Sharon's passive-aggressive role is known, but not adequately understood. By all accounts, for all his military prowess he was more of a political opportunist. Rather surprising, then, that he is referred to as a statesman. 

Amnesiacs with their sophistry will, of course, be disgusted with the Hamas reaction: ”We have become more confident in victory with the departure of this tyrant.  people today feel extreme happiness at the death and departure of this criminal whose hands were smeared with the blood of our people and the blood of our leaders here and in exile.”

Hamas owes much of its own militancy to Sharon. To quote Fisk again: "When an Israeli pilot bombed an apartment block in Gaza, killing nine small children as well as his Hamas target, Sharon described the "operation" as "a great success", and the Americans were silent. For he bamboozled his Western allies into the insane notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was part of Bush's monstrous battle against "world terror", that Arafat was himself a bin Laden, and that the world's last colonial war was part of the cosmic clash of religious extremism."

But, is the American position as recent as the Bush fantasy? Is Israel controlling the U.S. or is it the other way around? Is there more merit in Golda Meir's assertion that “Israel is really a safeguard for the maintenance of American interests in the area, and the first line of defence for the American interests in the Mediterranean basin”? 

The Ariel Sharon legacy is a continuation of the status quo, with two supra powers so dependent on each other that it is difficult to tell who is using whom. 

© Farzana Versey

Comments
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I'll leave the "politics" to

I'll leave the "politics" to others (it's a "hot potato" as we say in U.S. idiom), but perhaps you know Biden unwittingly enhances his dubious or unenviable reputation as a modern court jester almost every time he opens his mouth and "puts his foot in it" (another idiom).  Perhaps you are familiar with the "trickster/joker" archetype in myth as well. We call it political theatre, both tragic and comedic at once!  

Be well.

 

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The jester

Am aware that political discourse is a hot potato, and I often wonder why. 

Regarding your point, of course Brenden, Biden would be reminiscent of the jester of myth, and even more so of Shakespeare. The job is, then, to meld two disparate threads of thought, resolve conflict, through the fumbling. An effective tool for the king, as it were. 

Or as Isaac Asimov analysed it, "That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool – that he is no fool at all."

~F

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Well stated! Ah, yes, the

Well stated! Ah, yes, the wise fool, especially he/she who speaks truth to power like the one in KING LEAR that goes unheeded to the KIng 's tragic undoing.

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Rain check...

...on Biden as King Lear's The Fool. I'd root for Bottom, if at all. Hmrph. 'Making an ass' is perhaps more symbolic than he might even grasp!

~F

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Your posts always make me

Your posts always make me think, usually out of the box and with a dictionary close by, and for that I thank you so much.   

It is interesting how stereotype and assumption are everywhere.  At times all systems seem so foolish to me and, as you say, for no reason.  I think when a politician or a leader becomes a celebrity we lose perspective and believe what we are fed. 

Few people look closer and ask questions.  You have done that here and now, as an American, I will take some time to look behind the façade as it is presented. 

Thank you. 

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Perspectives

So very gracious of you, and thank you.

It is quite natural to believe those in whom we entrust the job of governing, for we submit ourselves to what we imagine is a 'higher calling'.

The questions posed are probably what does go on in the minds of quite a few, but are left unvoiced. I don't see anybody reading what I write as belonging to a region/ideology, and therefore feel free from the constraints of political correctness. It is sometimes a walk on a razor's edge, though, for the general tendency is to see things in black and white.

We strive. And continue to absorb from one another in varied ways.

Again, thanks for reaching out, Tracy.

~F

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Dear Farzana, thank you for

Dear Farzana, thank you for your post; in an ironic twist of fate Sharon's worst opponents today are the settlers. They regard him as a traitor since he had a change of heart in 2003 and in 2005 led the disengagement. So if Sharon has a legacy (and in my post   http://redroom.com/member/orna-b-raz/blog/how-the-mighty-have-fallen-the...  I doubt that he has one ) it is, like him, one of contradictions and operative actions without real idealogy. Some may call it cynical opportunism, but in his case I believe that he regarded it as being practical in order to survive. 

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Opportunism

Dear Orna:

Thank you for your comment and the link. What was considered  betrayal by Sharon could be seen in terms of the settlers' reluctance to accept or comprehend his motives, for he was not really on a peace initiative. It was Rabin who ended up sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with Yasser Arafat. Incidentally, the latter had quite a few enemies within the Hamas ranks because of his famous "olive branch" approach in the UN.

Back to Sharon, the contradictions you speak of are apparent in the following two statements from Israeli writer Uri Avnery's article ( http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/17/the-israeli-imperator/ ):

Sharon: “I am first of all a Jew, and only after that an Israeli!”

Avnery: "Ideologically, he (Sharon)was the pupil and successor of David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, leaders who believed in military force and in expanding the territory of Israel without limit."

Legacies, like almost everything, are open to interpretation. 

~F

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Dear Farzana, thank you for

Dear Farzana, thank you for your post; in an ironic twist of fate Sharon's worst opponents today are the settlers. They regard him as a traitor since he had a change of heart in 2003 and in 2005 led the disengagement. So if Sharon has a legacy (and in my post   http://redroom.com/member/orna-b-raz/blog/how-the-mighty-have-fallen-the...  I doubt that there is ) it is, like him, one of contradictions and operative actions without real idealogy. Some may call it cynical opportunism, but in his case I believe that he regarded it as being practical in order to survive. 

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Thank you!

My gratitude, and the gratitude of many thoughtful and caring people, for saying what most Americans are too intimidated to say:  a foreign country has profound influence over American policy, with tragic results for those millions of civilians caught in the middle. 

FDR made a promise to the king of Saudi Arabia that Europe's tragedy would not become his problem, but FDR died and the king underestimated the force and power of this movement.  Count Bernadotte was assassinated and UN diplomat Ralph Bunche was targeted for a similar fate; this movement would not be denied. 

At what point does singlemindedness become fanaticism, and beyond?  Why is it OK for one nation to kill civilians and not OK for another nation to do the same?  And why must Americans be afraid in their own country of speaking out against any and all undue influence on our foreign policy?

Thanks again for your courage and your wisdom in utilizing your position to bring up subjects which make us uncomfortable in our silence.

J.

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Spin offs

That is so kind of you, Jeanne. 

I am not sure whether Americans are intimidated or the power brokers have given a spin they cannot contest. However, there are pockets of radical thought within America that refuse to accept the established version. Unfortunately, their voices do not reach the civilians that you mention, who are fed from the mainstream sources that keep the powerful in power. 

You raise some important queries:

"At what point does singlemindedness become fanaticism, and beyond?  Why is it OK for one nation to kill civilians and not OK for another nation to do the same?  And why must Americans be afraid in their own country of speaking out against any and all undue influence on our foreign policy?"

There will always be hierarchical notions of what is 'right', and it would depend on practical considerations palmed off as ideological stand. For example, Golda Meir's statement in this piece seems to convey that Israel allows itself to be used by the US so as not have to bear the burden alone of too many guilts. 

It is a bit surprising, though, to see the U.S., that can afford to take a maverick position, held captive by other nations. I reckon since there is no free lunch in politics, it is getting something in return. 

Rather strange that besides Israel, it is 'friends' with Saudi Arabia although the entire 'war on terror' is built around the Al Qaeda. So, how does this pan out? 

There must be different voices. Silence is not even an option! Thank you for listening. 

~F