I Feel Sorry for Ariel Sharon

We here at Antiwar.com are often very critical of Ariel Sharon, and rightly so. He has, after all, spent the last 50+ years killing civilians in a war few ever seem to get tired of. He’s directly responsible for tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths, and is now gleefully walling them in.

Indeed, its not terribly hard to find op/ed pieces that call him a genocidal madman. I’m not going to do that here, mostly because it makes it a lot harder to feel sorry for him.

But over the last few days, something interesting has happened. There exist those in Israel who are even further to the right than Mr. Sharon, and despite his past record, they really don’t feel he’s quite genocidal enough. In fact, they feel so strongly about this, some are plotting to kill him.

Although it may not look like it to those of us outside of Israel, Ariel Sharon has actually become something of a centrist, and in a society that has very strong opinions one way or the other on the Palestinian question, that is a very dangerous position to be in. He’s got to come down off the fence to save his own neck, and he knows it.

Two days ago when this story first started coming together, if you’d asked me which side he’d wind up on, I’d have guess the right. After all, this is Ariel Sharon we’re talking about. He’d probably decide he was going soft in his old age and get back to what he does best, killing Palestinians while the Right cheers. Miraculously though, it doesn’t look like that’s what is going to happen.

Instead, he has turned to one of his longtime rivals Shimon Peres, Labour Party Leader and founder of the Peres Center for Peace. The redoubtable Mr. Peres, to his credit, instead of taking the easy path to power has made his cooperation conditional, Israel must withdraw from the Gaza Strip, or he wants nothing to do with them.

The Other of Two Evils

Kerry Defines Middle East Policy

This is the first of what I hope will be many blog entries here. As those of you who read Justin’s article already know, I’m Antiwar.com’s latest hiree.

Today we got a glimpse at John Kerry’s official Middle East Policy. Now, obviously I wasn’t expecting Kerry to emerge as an antiwar candidate or anything, but some of this stuff is pretty surprising. Note that the stuff in italics isn’t paraphrase, nor is it an interpretation, these are direct quotes.

John Kerry understands that America must guarantee Israel’s military superiority

Now, its obviously been US policy to defend Israel from its many, many enemies. But I believe this is the first time its actually been suggested that it is America’s duty to keep Israel militarily superior to them. Obviously this means military aid, and lots of it. Indeed, elsewhere in the policy report Kerry brags about his record of opposing any cuts to Israeli aid.

John Kerry understands that anti-Semitism masked in anti-Israel rhetoric is a dangerous trend threatening both Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

Its been extremely fashionable, of course, to suggest that those who oppose any action by Israel are defacto anti-Semites (indeed, more than one Antiwar.com columnist has had that charge levied against him), but isn’t making such accusations more the job of the mainstream media than politicians?

Now that’s not surprising in and of itself, but the rest of the paragraph kind of was:

John Kerry has always fought against anti-Semitism and as president, he will take governments around the world to task for failing to address this escalating threat.

How does one address a belief that is considered threatening? There’s one obvious answer: censorship.

In the wake of this pretty much blind support of Israeli policies, there’s a question that’s begging to be asked. What’re the odds it will be? Pretty close to 0%, I’d say:

“Senator Kerry, recently Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister asserted that Israel could wipe out the entire Gaza Strip in a matter of hours. You have said in your Middle East Policy that you support the right of Israel to ‘eliminate threats’ to its citizens, would you support Israel taking such action, even though it would almost certainly result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians? “