January 11th, 2014

RIP Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon has died at 85, but you may be forgiven if you’re surprised that he was still alive in the first place. He had been in a coma since a devastating stroke in 2006, and it is easy to imagine that his death was in this case a deliverance.

Sharon was a figure of tremendous controversy, even more than most Israeli leaders, and that’s saying something. He was a towering figure who lived up to the meaning of his name, “lion”:

Sharon was one of Israel’s legendary politicians and military leaders. He played an instrumental role in IDF victories in the Sinai desert in both the 1967 Six Day War and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. His victories on the battlefield, immortalized by the image of him in an IDF uniform with a white bandage wrapped around his wounded forehead, earned him the title, “Arik, King of Israel.”

He was equally fearless in the political arena, where he was the father of two parties, Likud and Kadima. As defense minister in 1982, he oversaw the Lebanon War before he was ousted from office in 1983 as a result of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre for which the Kahn Commission of Inquiry found him indirectly responsible.

Later, Sharon also began the settlement movement and then pulled back from it, and was responsible for starting to build the security barrier that has helped stem the tide of suicide bombings in Israel.

The Sabra and Shatilla massacre was the event that anti-Sharon forces find to be perhaps the most offensive episode in an altogether-offensive career. Years ago I tried to sort out what actually happened there, and I won’t go into it now except to say the following: no one would be talking about Sabra and Shatilla if there had been no opportunity to blame the Israelis for failing to stop it (that’s where the “indirectly” came in). It would instead have remained one of a long line of dreadful massacres in the bloody and seemingly-endless Lebanese civil war.

I will close with a quote from Sharon that I found in a New Yorker interview that took place some time in the early 2000′s:

The conflict isn’t between us and the Palestinians. The conflict is between us and the Arab world. And the problem at the heart of the conflict is that the Arab world does not recognize the Jews’ inherent right to have a Jewish state in the land where the Jewish people began. This is the main problem. This also applies to Egypt, with which we have a cold peace. It also applies to Jordan, with which we have a very close strategic relationship, but this is a relationship between governments, not between peoples. The problem is not 1967. The problem is the profound nonrecognition by the Arab world of Israel’s birthright. The problem will not be solved by an agreement. It will not be solved by a speech. Anyone who promises that it’s possible to end the conflict within a year or two year or three is mistaken. Anyone who promises peace now is blind to the way things are. Even after the disengagement, we will not be able to rest on our laurels. We will not be able to sit under our fig tree and our vine….

The greatest danger is in signing some document and believing that as a result we will have peace. This is not going to happen…Instead, we have to build a process that will enable us to ascertain that indeed a change is taking place in the Arab world. It is necessary to teach all the teachers that Israel is a legitimate entity.

I don’t see any way that could happen. But I agree with Sharon that, until it does, the bitter conflict will continue.

14 Responses to “RIP Ariel Sharon”

  1. Matt_SE Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that leftists hate Israel because it is independent. It has left the plantation.
    And there’s nothing the left hates more than an uppity minority.

    If true, then there’s no satisfying the left short of Israel’s destruction. Because if Israel had to depend on its neighbors’ goodwill to survive, well…

    This also explains the indifference of many American Jews: they are leftists first and foremost, and if Israel is conservative it must be evil.

  2. Matt_SE Says:

    Now that I think about it, Israel flirted heavily with leftism…kibbutzes/communes and such. They eventually drifted into capitalist territory, and the profit motive started straining the system.

    It occurs to me that leftist hatred of Israel seemed to rise at the same moment that Israel was retreating from overt leftist economic dogma.
    Coincidence?

  3. Matt_SE Says:

    …and if THAT’S true, it implies that leftist see socialism as the only moral way to live; they denigrate any other order.
    Socialism: an ideology crafted by dead, white European males.

    How very “Eurocentric” of them.

    No doubt they would claim that “Latin” or “African” socialism is somehow fundamentally different than the European version, thus redeeming it.

    But if that’s the case, why isn’t “Latin” or “African” capitalism fundamentally different than American capitalism?

  4. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I’ve always wondered if the detestation of Israel dates from the 7-Day War, also. Until then Israel was the plucky little country, surviving on a thread – an underdog, and we know how much the Left adores their plucky little underdogs.
    Once Israel smashed their opponents – and made it very clear they were military winners … well, then – the American and Euro leftoids began to hate them. Because they could no longer be pitied.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    Sgt. Mom, the Soviets were backing the Arabs from 1955 or so. Actually even before then.

    So when the Israeli Jewish communists or socialists started to beat the snot out of the Arabs, one of the KGB policy makers decided to tell the Leftists in America that Jews in Israel were not to be considered fellow comrades any more.

    So the Israeli Jews stayed Israeli and stayed socialist, and stayed on the prisoner exchange policy too, but they were cut off from the international Leftist alliance. Which eventually made Israel too dependent on American military alliances.

  6. FOAF Says:

    Ymarsakar has it right. I read somewhere that even Noam Chomsky wasn’t particularly anti-Israel until it became clear that the Soviets were on the Arab side.

  7. Beverly Says:

    You can cut through an amazing amount of BS with the ignoranti by pointing one thing out:

    What is the Arab world’s favorite gun? What are they brandishing in every war, every conflict?

    The AK-47, of course.

    And WHO made the AK-47, little grasshoppers?

    The Soviet Union!

    Now tell me again: Who says WE armed the Arab world? (this is a typical liberal asshat charge; but when you jog their alleged minds with the AK-47 thing, some of them actually think. Not that it lasts, but it’s a chink of light through the wall of resolute ignorance.)

  8. Beverly Says:

    And of course Sharon is right: the basic problem was and is that the Arabs, especially the moslem Arabs, are Jew-haters.

    Liberal asshats like to get it backwards, and claim the Arabs only hate the Jews because of Israel. I tell them, No, they hate Israel because it’s full of those blasted Jews.

    This makes them squirm, get ticked off/change the subject.

    More and more these days, I’m feeling like my Polish emigree friend: when you’re under a dictatorship, she said, you just keep your head down and hope the State won’t notice your existence, and you focus on your own personal life and work.

    To think that we are coming to this point in AMERICA!

  9. Steve Rosenbach Says:

    With regard to Sabra and Shatilla, Prime Minister Begin got it right:

    “Goyim kill goyim and the Jews get blamed.”

    Just a minor nit… the commission was the Kahan (not Kahn) Commission.

  10. NeoConScum Says:

    A Great Warrior and Leader. A Man of True Grit and Muscle. A Tough Guy in the Best Sense of the Word.

    So, His Infantile Majesty Obama, recently back from slobbering through Nelson Mandela’s funeral, slaps the Jews by sending The Fool Biden to Israel for Sharon’s service.

    I loath these pantywaists.

  11. Allen Wang Says:

    It Was A Sad Tragic Day To Remember Ariel Sharon And I He
    ard That He Passed Away At The Age Of 85 Due To Coma And
    Stroke And Ariel Was A Wonderful Politician And Military Lead
    er And Now That He Passed On We Admire Him And Love Him
    Regardless I Don’t Need To Know A Deceased Person But I Do
    Remember When Ariel Was Alive And He Was A Wonderful Lo
    ving Husband And Father Of His Three Sons! RIP.

    PS Ariel Sharon Will Always Be Remembered And Adored
    By His Political Friends And Strangers Too And Even T
    hough We Don’t Know Him But Still He’s Our Beloved
    Military Leader!

  12. Wm. Lawrence Says:

    Surprised that Barack isn’t going. Look at all the great opportunities for selfies he will be missing…

  13. blert Says:

    I know that Ariel Sharon saved Golda Meir’s bacon during the Yom Kippur War. But was that Kosher?

    Strangely, he ‘took a demotion’ to do it. As the commanding general, the hot sector had been his to command — just months prior to the war. Subsequently, he had been shifted into the Reserves… at a lesser rank. His old subordinate was elevated in his stead. This had significant effects when the action became hot. (He simply reverted to type; what else?)

    Once called back to duty, General Sharon went right back to Plan A, which had been established going back years.

    Israel, in secrecy, had long built a ford across the Suez Canal that was deep enough to not be obvious, yet shallow enough that tanks, and such, could roll directly across, when suitably prepared.

    Sharon had to get to the magic spot, there was no substitute. The Egyptians utterly failed to realize that the ford was there.

    The confusion and losses were so great that the other Israeli commanders started to argue towards different gambits. Bullheaded Sharon had his way. Indeed, he made his move, with just one brigade, so fast that by the time he decided to let them in on his drive, he was at the canal’s edge. The defending Egyptians entirely lost heart when they saw that the Israelis were already cutting them off from the canal, and their own supplies.

    The nature of Arab commanders is to never admit failure — especially an epic penetration.

    So it took Russian satellite photos to convince Cairo that the Israelis were across — and in great strength.

    With no reserves to counter the Israeli position, the southern wing of the canal front was destined to be completely trapped in the Sinai — and without water, to boot! (Two full armies)

    Something like this happened under PM Begin in Lebanon. The initial idea (Begin’s) was that the IDF would punish the wicked. As events unfolded, the IDF kept rolling north — a bit quicker and further than Begin ever imagined would be necessary. This is known far and wide as ‘mission creep.’

    It turned out that the villains could run away just as fast as the IDF could chase them. Arafat lucked out when the Western press came to his aid. You can scarcely imagine the agitprop in the European press.

    So it was off to Tunisia for Arafat, and an undeserved holiday.

    In all of this, Begin refused to give up Sharon, his Defense Minister. The peace-now crowd was baying for Ariel’s blood.

    Such is the weird nature of anti-logical agtiprop and modern politics.

    (We’re seeing a variation of this with Christie. The petty is elevated to the Moon, the serious is suppressed.)

    To read the obits you’d never know that Sharon gave Hamas its grandest near term objective: rapine of the Gaza. Like a bunch of deranged Oklahoma ‘Sooners, the Pali’s destroyed their own green assets with disgrace and dispatch.

    That reality echoed the final scene from Star Trek:

    “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

    Bele lands on planet Sharon to chase Lokai.

  14. artfldgr Says:

    “Secretary of State John Kerry—who arrived here determined, and who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism—can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians”, Mr Yaalon is reported as saying

    “The only thing that might save us is if John Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us be”, said the Defence Minister.

    “The American plan for security arrangements that was shown to us isn’t worth the paper it was written on”, he is quoted as saying

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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