Middle East

Jan 13, 2014

Ariel Sharon is still dead, like the Israel he controlled

Lionised by Israelis, loathed by Palestinians, Ariel Sharon's archaic political vision was a disaster for both. From London, Crikey's writer at large looks at the legacy.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


“Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead,” Chevy Chase intoned in a classic episode of Saturday Night Live’s “News Review”. The obsequies for former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon have the same air. The man has been dead to all intents and purposes for eight years. We already did the recap when he slipped into a coma eight years ago. Now we have to do it again?

Commemorating his death twice has a macabre logic to it — Israeli forces killed a three-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza on December 24, part of collective punishment for the random shooting of an Israeli contractor on the border. Her death went unremarked upon. Sharon is to be mourned twice.

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17 thoughts on “Ariel Sharon is still dead, like the Israel he controlled

  1. paddy

    Standing ovation for the best thing I’ve read on Crikey this year Guy.

  2. Kevin Herbert

    Erik Scheinerman (aka Ariel Sharon) was an evil fraud….his creation of the Gaza open prison for 1.2 million civilians is his dark legacy.

    Like Stalin, just another Georgian thug.

    Nice work Guy.

  3. colin skene

    Guy Rundle is one of the major reasons I subscribe to Crikey. A tour de force if ever there was one.

  4. mook schanker

    But Greg Sheridan tells me you cannot do anything wrong as long as you’re in a democracy right….?

  5. j.oneill

    “By any justice, he should have ended up in a glass box in The Hague”. But there is no justice any more. The notion of accountability for war crimes barely survived the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals. Israel commits crimes against the Palestinians on a daily basis and the Australian press barely mentions them, and certainly not in terms of accountability. When was the last time you saw the Israeli wall on TV? A wall that is both higher and longer than the Berlin Wall which was a constant source for western propaganda.

    After a shift in australia’s voting pattern on Palestinian questions in the UN General Assembly the Abbott government went back to unquestioning compliance with the USA’s wishes and now is a tiny minority voting in Israel’s interests. They were so afraid of adverse publicity that the major policy change was made without even the barest public announcement.

    Our msm still parrots the usual nonsense about the “peace process” and other linguistic distortions of reality. It is a measure of how far we have fallen that the Sharon eulogies paint him as a “moderate” because he unilaterally withdrew from Gaza! How blind can one be to reality. How sick are our values that the architect of the racist apartheid state that regularly attacks, directly or indirectly, its neighbours; that refuses to sign the nuclear NPT; and that uses chemical warfare; and for decades has pursued policies consistent with the so-called Yinon plan that require the destruction of their neighbours.

    I welcome Guy’s statements but they do not go far enough. Our policies need a radical rethink, but it will be a cold day in hell before our present political leadership takes that step.

  6. AR

    One of his nicknames during his career was “bulldozer”. It should be a matter of interest, if only to PhD types wanting a new thesis subject, to ponder how so rigorously secular a concept as the (non Zionist)Israel – the relentless kommunalism of the kibbutzim, the eschewing of obscurantism, the forward looking vision was corrupted. Methinks it was 1967 and the, then, unwanted West Bank acquired purely as a military bargaining chip.
    Once the NY “Eretz Israel” fundis sussed that it could be leveraged as an anti-communist bulwark the rot set in.
    If it goes on for another generation as currently, it will beindistinguishable from any other confessional theocracy, small victories like degendered buses will have been a blip.

  7. Zarathrusta

    Astute analysis. Hopefully Israel can see some wisdom and dig itself out of this mess. The lack of anyone’s real interest being served by helping them now may just assist that.

  8. MJPC

    Guy, good to see that a journalist has the courage to criticise an icon of zionism; of course you know you will now be branded as anti-semitic by some sections of society.

  9. Dez Paul

    @MJPC – that would be by those who confuse a Semite with a Zionist.
    Love your work, Guy. You are able to make an ugly subject such a beautiful read. Whether Sharon was/is a Lion of Zion is not so important. You’re right about him that “…the idea that some unique virtue or vice attaches to him is self-serving on both sides.” He was just one in a long line of grubs, stretching over a long history, across many nations. In all probability we will see the likes of him again, if not in Israel, then somewhere else.

  10. j.oneill

    Juan Cole Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan has a very good 10 point summary of why Sharon was bad for Israel and the Middle East. It can be accessed at http://www.juancole.com

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