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