The Jewish World's Most Respected Intellectual Linguist Speaks Out On Sharon

Credit Where It’s Due: Yesterday, the great intellectual linguist Noam Chomsky Hillel Halkin wrote in the New York Sun that Sharon’s decision to leave the Likud in order to pursue unilateral disengagement from the West Bank is proof that,

“his many critics on both the Left and the Right who accused him of carrying out disengagement as a mere ploy for remaining in power while under investigation on corruption charges owe him an apology. At this point of his life, he clearly cares about disengagement more than about power.”

Halkin noted that he,

“should have realized that the man who, in 1973, chose the risky offensive tactic of crossing to the Egyptian side of the Canal over remaining in safe defensive positions on the Israeli side, would prefer in 2005, to go for broke again. At the age of 77, Mr. Sharon, it is now clear, does not want to serve out one last term as a prime minister who cannot accomplish bold things.”

Read on…

20 thoughts on “The Jewish World's Most Respected Intellectual Linguist Speaks Out On Sharon

  1. Don’t you find it curious at the very least that Sharon never made any moves towards further disengagement until these new developments with Peretz/Labor got so much attention?
    You should never believe a word he says. He has never uttered a word of truth except by mistake. His aims have not changed, only his tactics have. Don’t look at what he says, look at what he does.
    — Uri Avnery, leader of Israeli Peace movement Gush Shalom, speaking of Ariel Sharon

  2. sharon is a great man, in the mold of so many men and women who created a jewish state ex nihilo.
    do i agree with every decision ben-gurion et al., and for that matter his political (and personal?) nemesis, begin, made? of course not. would i have voted for him? probably not. but one cannot deny his greatness.
    i mean this both in his vision, capability and his accomplishment, and in his total and complete dedication and devotion to the jewish people [which in his mind meant a jewish state…].
    all those who attributed to sharon all kinds of nefarious and devious reasons for his disengagement owe the man an apology. it is growing clearer — and given his life’s service to the jewish people and especially his 1973 behavior — that we are talking about a real jewish hero, as selfless as they come in this age.
    this is a gutsy move when he could just sit tight in the likud. i have to give it up for a 75 year old man who is willing to do something which, on the face of it, flies in the face of a lifetime career and philosophy.
    and then, he is ready to start a whole new political party. i have great admiration for the man.
    and this has nothing to do with whether i agree with his actions or not. assuming i greatly disagree with him, i would act full-tilt against his policies, but always, always, with derech eretz for the man who dedicated his career and life to the jewish [that is, israeli] cause.

  3. ….or, he decided that within a year he would probably lose the likud leadership anyway so starting his own party is simply a means to maintain power.
    And even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he is doing it to achieve ‘bold things’ , what precisely are these grand policies? To create two separated bantustans on less than half of the west bank and get the world off Israel’s back by claiming to have allowed a ‘palestinian state’. Compliment the man for being an expert tactician by all means, but the idea of him as a man of peace’, or worse ‘a jewish hero’ is absurd beyond belief.

  4. Without getting into the speculation about his real motives, past, present and future, it still bothers me a lot how he can run an election campaign on a certain platform, turn a 180 and raped his party by implementing opposition policy contrary to party constitution, and then bolt from that party and a third of its members of parliament, leaving it with all the problems, including a 12million shekel debt, essentially ditching it on the curbside with torn clothes.
    It disturbs me that there is no real discourse in Israel about the legitimacy of Sharon’s move to destroy the Likud party. It’s as if the media is quite satisfied by this right-wing turmoil.’
    owe the man an apology/i>?
    He took what was a trend leading to political stability in Israel and forced it back into uncertainty.
    The move is quite brilliant, if not fiendish. He resigns from the party with a third of its members of parliament and funding, but leaves behind a loyal and sizeable amount of likud members who can still mold the likud into a Sharon puppet. Sharon leaves Likud in order to attract leftist votes with a supposed ‘centrist’ party, and then joins back up with Likud to form a massive minority (now at an unprecedented 45-48 seats).

  5. laugh all you want ck – Uri Avnery has closely followed the career of Ariel Sharon for four decades. Over the years, he has written three extensive biographical essays about him, two (1973, 1981) with his cooperation. He knows Sharon back & forth since long before you or I were born. Avnery was elected to the Knesset 3 times, and fought in the Irgun and the 1948 war just as Sharon did. Whatever you think of his politics he’s certainly not someone to be taken lightly.

  6. John Brown,
    The Forward’s editorial agrees with you specifically that Peretz was the catalyst.
    Thought you would like to know:
    “It’s important to note that Sharon’s latest earthquake would not have been possible if not for the important change that the Labor Party underwent two weeks earlier. By choosing Moroccan-born trade unionist Amir Peretz as its new standard bearer, Labor dramatically changed its public profile and upended some of Israel’s traditionally tribal political loyalties. Most important, Peretz managed by acting quickly and decisively to put Sharon on notice that the time for change was now.”
    Go to: http://www.forward.com/article
    I am certainly not laughing at Avnery. But I do not agree with him. I would also point you to the final paragraph of the Forward editorial, which declares:
    “Sharon has always been ‘a man of parts,’ as we wrote in an editorial when he was first elected in February 2001. And while he was best known for the parts that pulled triggers and built settlements, his other parts, we wrote, ’tilt toward moderation and pragmatism.’ Back then, we urged the public to give Sharon time to see which side of his nature would win out. Now we know.”

  7. Don’t look at what he says, look at what he does.”
    Like take it upon himself, risk civil war, and end the occupation in Gaza?

  8. Uri Avnery is not exactly a paragon of truth himself. And if he wasn’t discredited before, his fawning embrace of Arafat to the end only secured his place in history as an embarassment to the peace movement.

  9. Is Sharon’s leaving Likud and forming a new “National Responsibility” party the second shoe falling? Is the Middle East ready for peace? Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who took on Israel’s enemies in “The Case for Israel,” has a new book out called “The Case for Peace.” According to Dershowitz, the first shoe dropped with what he calls the “untimely” death of Arafat. (Untimely because it came too late!) You can read more–and download sample chapters–of “The Case for Peace” at http://tinyurl.com/84qc7

  10. Dershowitz lost credibility with me when he endorsed the state sanctioned use of torture, and when he claimed in his book “The Case for Israel” that Israel was uninhabited, and that all the Palestinians are foreign. So far as I can see the only thing anyone had on Arafat was the inability to stop the suicide bombers. He didn’t govern the west bank. Israel did.
    I don’t think Sharon is a great man because he is a good politician, and I don’t think annexing the west bank, which is what disengagement is, will bring peace.

  11. Sharon a Jewish hero – gimmie a break… He has turned out to be the most corrupt leader Israel politics have conjured, and that says a lot.
    And, pragmatism is definitely a tenet, but Sharon has hardly turned into a fully-pledged pro-peace frummie (academic or not). In the years 2002 – 2005, the population in the West Bank has increased by about 40,000. Even more telling, is the number of Government Tenders Issued for Settlement Construction – in the last four years, 1,123 legal tenders were meted for East Jerusalem; 4,129 for the West Bank settlements and only 22 (!) for Gaza strip settlement. If you want to know the truth, ‘Follow the money’ is as good as it gets. And there’s your pragmatism – Josh – Sharon did not turnabout on his old promises, just played his tactics well, and sacrificed a superfluous flank in order to protect the Jewish underbelly of messianic colonialism.
    Mobius – love the JBFRSO button; how about a ‘JUICY MUFF’ campaign (Jewish Universalists Imploring Cretin Yobbos to Meet Ugly Fallacies Face-on) – you can use a picture of Einstein Stickin’ his tongue out or something…

  12. Dameocrat and Komai,
    I did not mean to suggest that Sharon turned into a white dove. I never the less insist that his push for unilateral disengagement from large parts (though not all) of the West Bank is still different than the Likud’s vision, even as it is also very different from Peretz’s.
    The fact that he is not following your idealism or the Left’s idealism does not mean he isn’t an idealist, and just a politician seeking continued power.

  13. David,
    I think the bottom line is – has Sharon changed his mind with regards to recognising the rights of the Palestinians for a Sovereign State, an economic framework that will support that, and the chance to recover and forgive (comes in that order, like it or not)?
    I think not, and I’ll be the first one to eat my cyber hat with delight (and, eh, little chilli sauce?) if I am wrong. All my experience, including first hand Lebanese excursions, is that the man care for nothing but sheer power and its brutal expressions, and following the latest scandals, its not so distant cousin Greed. The proof is in the pudding, and current Israel tastes bad – no number of chillies will help here).
    I hope I am wrong, and my spiritual paradigm convinces me that the possibility of change is there, so here is for better days and peaceful measures. Shabat Shalom 🙂

  14. JBFRSO button; how about a ‘JUICY MUFF’ campaign (Jewish Universalists Imploring Cretin Yobbos to Meet Ugly Fallacies Face-on … I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something contradictory there. What do you think it could be?

  15. Although I’m not a huge Sharon fan and although the new party will probably take votes from the left as Josh Brown hinted, I think the new party signals something really positive in Israeli politics: that after five years of pretty much one party politics favouring the right wing likud, finally the more centrist element of likud is seperating from the more right wing settler movement and marginalising them (as I think they ought to be)…

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