Thug

Israel/Palestine
on 84 Comments
Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Sharon is dead. The obituaries are coming fast and furious. Most mainstream news outlets are presenting a “balanced” view of Sharon as a controversial leader bound to be lionized over the next days.

The Guardian plays both sides of the Sharon equation. While it highlights the controversies that surrounded Sharon in life, the Guardian sums up Sharon’s controversial legacy this way:

For many Israelis he will be mourned as a giant figure that played a key role in shaping Israel both as a soldier and a statesman. His passing severs the last link to the iconic generation which fought in the 1948 war that followed the declaration of the state. His reputation as a fearless – and controversial – soldier was matched by his uncompromising ideology as a politician.

Among Palestinians and leftwing Israelis, he will be remembered as a powerful and reviled champion of Israel’s colonial settlement project, and the political force behind the construction of the vast concrete and steel separation barrier that snakes through the West Bank. Many will not forgive his role in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians in refugee camps in Beirut in the 1980s.

But those of us who aren’t beholden to these mainstream journalistic norms, whatever they’re worth, should state what’s on our minds. As Miko Peled writes:

Ariel Sharon was an ambitious man. He was brutal, greedy, uncompromising and dishonest. He possessed an insatiable appetite for power, glory and fortune. His tendencies as a cold-blooded, merciless killer were evident from early on in his career….

Simply put, Sharon was a thug.

Sharon was a thug who courted and exercised power his entire career, ultimately holding the reins of state power. For decades progressive Zionists held fast to the fiction that Sharon was a rightwing bigot outside Israel’s centrist political culture. They were wrong. Though rougher and more bellicose than other Israeli leaders, Sharon’s vision was – and is – at the center of the Israel’s state enterprise.

Sharon’s legacy isn’t about how Jews want Israel to be perceived by others. Leadership style is only a superficial part of the story. Sharon’s legacy is about the policies he carried out as a military and political actor.

In the public arena, Sharon was no different from his predecessors or those who followed him. If anything he was ahead of his time. Though not cutting the same outsized persona as Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu stands squarely in Sharon’s tradition. Netanyahu, too, is a thug who holds the reins of state power.

Sharon’s “uncompromising ideology as a politician” is Israel’s state ideology. That is the significance of Sharon’s legacy.

If Sharon is a thug, what does that make Jews in Israel and America who are paying homage to Sharon? What does that make political leaders around the world who offer condolences and will attend Sharon’s funeral?

President Obama released this statement on Sharon’s death:

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. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country.

As Politico correctly understands,  Obama’s statement is more or less a diplomatic-speak “no comment” send off. Predictably John Kerry was more effusive:

Ariel Sharon’s journey was Israel’s journey. The dream of Israel was the cause of his life, and he risked it all to live that dream.

I remember reading about Arik in the papers when I was a young lawyer in Boston and marveling at his commitment to cause and country. I will never forget meeting with this big bear of a man when he became prime minister as he sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process. He was prepared to make tough decisions because he knew that his responsibility to his people was both to ensure their security and to give every chance to the hope that they could live in peace.

During his years in politics, it is no secret that there were times the United States had differences with him. But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions – and Arik was always crystal clear about where he stood – you admired the man who was determined to ensure the security and survival of the Jewish State. In his final years as prime minister, he surprised many in his pursuit of peace, and today, we all recognize, as he did, that Israel must be strong to make peace, and that peace will also make Israel stronger.
We honor Arik’s legacy and those of Israel’s founding generation by working to achieve that goal.

No doubt Kerry is honoring “Arik’s” legacy in his current role as Secretary of State. Whatever policies Sharon may have been willing to change before his stroke, only a naïve fool or a willing deceiver would think that it had anything to do with justice for the Palestinian people.

The same with Kerry. Only a naïve fool or a willing deceiver would mistake Kerry’s push for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority for justice.

Kerry got it right when he identified Sharon’s life with Israel’s journey.

Indeed, this is precisely why the problem with Sharon’s legacy is much deeper than Sharon himself.

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza which can be found at www.newdiasporabooks.com

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84 Responses

  1. American
    January 12, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Sharon steamroller thug vr Obama et al weasely hypocrite, coward, politicians……..
    Not quite equal but probably close to in the damage they do.
    Off with all their heads.

  2. just
    January 12, 2014, 2:34 pm

    “If Sharon is a thug, what does that make Jews in Israel and America who are paying homage to Sharon? What does that make political leaders around the world who offer condolences and will attend Sharon’s funeral?”

    “Thug” doesn’t quite do the trick.

    He was a terrorist and a butcher, and those that effusively eulogize him and attend the funeral are not much better.

    • Citizen
      January 12, 2014, 7:48 pm

      thug |THəg|
      noun
      1 a violent person, esp. a criminal.
      [mid 19th cent.: extension of sense 2.]
      2 ( Thug ) historical a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.

    • thetruthhurts
      January 13, 2014, 5:15 pm

      criminally complicit aiders and abetters, thats what!

  3. eljay
    January 12, 2014, 2:40 pm

    >> If Sharon is a thug, what does that make Jews in Israel and America who are paying homage to Sharon? What does that make political leaders around the world who offer condolences and will attend Sharon’s funeral?

    Self-serving hypocrites.

  4. yrn
    January 12, 2014, 2:41 pm

    “If Sharon is a thug, what does that make Jews in Israel and America who are paying homage to Sharon?”

    I would say about 95% of the total Jews world wide are paying homage to Sharon,
    What does it make them.

    • Taxi
      January 12, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Where the heck do you get “95%” from, yrn?

      • Theo
        January 13, 2014, 9:58 am

        Easy, he counted all of them!
        Yesterday I visited the local jewish community center, it has several hundred members, and did not hear one single negative remark about Sharon, but a lot of praise, so yrn may just be right with his assumption.

      • Taxi
        January 13, 2014, 10:41 am

        All my jewish friends have been drunk on champagne since Saturday. Does that mean that 95% of jews are celebrating Sharon’s death? Cuz by yours and yrn’s polling standard, my “assumption” just may be “right”.

    • just
      January 12, 2014, 4:03 pm

      A real shame for Jewish people. It makes them complicit, adrift and lost, and more than a little guilty themselves. You cannot claim any moral high ground when you idolize this Butcher and pay “homage” to his horrible, murderous deeds. Indeed, then you embrace his terrorism, and claim it as your own.

      (of course, that is, if your guess of 95% is true). I seriously doubt it.

      • seafoid
        January 12, 2014, 4:23 pm

        It says something about Jewish compassion as well

      • Kathleen
        January 12, 2014, 11:35 pm

        Anyone who pays homage to a murderous butcher demonstrates that they are not much different than the murderer

      • hophmi
        January 13, 2014, 6:22 am

        OMG. What does this about Palestinians who venerate terrorists? Why are you calling 95% of the Palestinians terrorists, Kathleen? You really are a complete racist.

      • thetruthhurts
        January 13, 2014, 5:28 pm

        hophi or whatever- you seem to be the racist here, prejudicially grouping palestinians with the word terrorists like they’re the same. they’re trying to resist there world, their homes, their lives as they knew it, from being destroyed. kind of like naturally, wouldn’t you think?
        sharon and its ilk are the real terrorists.

      • hophmi
        January 14, 2014, 4:02 pm

        “prejudicially grouping palestinians with the word terrorists like they’re the same. ”

        LOL. Here’s what Kathleen said: “Anyone who pays homage to a murderous butcher demonstrates that they are not much different than the murderer”

        That would presumably hold true for people who pay homage to suicide bombers. It’s an idiotic statement.

    • seafoid
      January 12, 2014, 4:08 pm

      What does it make them.

      Lost. Badly educated. Naïve as well, perhaps/

    • amigo
      January 12, 2014, 4:38 pm

      “I would say about 95% of the total Jews world wide are paying homage to Sharon,
      What does it make them.” yrn

      Ask yourself the same question about those who paid homage to Hitler.

      Not saying Sharon was “quite” in the same league but you get the point.

    • MRW
      January 12, 2014, 7:01 pm

      Ben Gurion thought Sharon was “a gangster” and scoffed at the idea that he could ever become PM. (Source: Ben Gurion said this directly to my mentor when he lived in Israel in 1967/69).

    • LeaNder
      January 12, 2014, 7:39 pm

      What does it make them.

      sheeple, if you ask me.

      At least to the extend they really do. Your 95% sounds like some type of show election, why not 99,99%? Are you sure you are willing to let people decide for themselves?

    • thankgodimatheist
      January 12, 2014, 10:25 pm

      “I would say about 95% of the total Jews world wide are paying homage to Sharon,
      What does it make them.”
      Anyone, Jew or not who holds the slightest esteem for this monster is in turn, a thug him(her)self. No problem.

    • RoHa
      January 12, 2014, 11:56 pm

      “I would say about 95% of the total Jews world wide are paying homage to Sharon,
      What does it make them.”

      Are you are saying that 95% of Jews are so corrupt, so devoid of human decency, that they are paying homage to a war criminal?

      Or are you saying that they are, in fact, totally ignorant of Sharon’s career, in spite of having Israeli affairs thrust down their throats 24/7?

      I suppose the latter suggestion is less anti-Semitic than the former, but neither of them are really positive claims for you to make about Jews.

    • talknic
      January 13, 2014, 1:27 am

      yrn “I would say about 95% of the total Jews world wide are paying homage to Sharon,
      What does it make them”

      Indoctrinated or ignorant or like perpetual pushers of the wholly holey old Hasbara, purposefully ignorant propagandists

    • yonah fredman
      January 13, 2014, 2:25 am

      Many people paid homage to Charles Lindbergh when he died, despite his racism. That doesn’t make them racists, does it? It means they paid more attention to the early part of his career (flying solo across the Atlantic, suffering the kidnapping of a son) rather than the later part of his career (advocating defeatism in the face of the rising menace of Germany, giving the Des Moines speech with its threat against the Jews, speaking about the Asian race in racist terms.)

      Certainly Sharon’s evil deeds were not the matter of mere words, but in fact the taking of lives and to ignore those parts of his career takes a certain apathy towards the blood that was spilled on his command. But in fact there were other aspects to his career- the crossing of the Suez Canal in ’73 (myth or truth, may be beside the point to those paying homage) and the (partial) withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 that in fact deserve a degree of homage.

      There is another point. The wars fought since Sharon’s death: both the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and the war against Gaza in 2008-2009, can be attributed (not only to the militarism that Sharon was famous for, but also) to the military inexperience of people like Olmert. It is highly unlikely that the war on Lebanon would have taken the path it took had Sharon been Prime Minister at the time and even the war against Gaza would not have happened in the same form if Sharon had been Prime Minister. Thus Israel and those that support Israel miss the leadership that Sharon embodied, that his mere presence would have avoided and that his absence made “necessary”.

      I think that many Jews in Israel and around the world are aware that Sharon had a “checkered” career and that he is a figure of controversy and that the path forward will have to involve a different attitude towards the Palestinians than the one that he expressed and evinced. I think those Jews are paying homage to Sharon not because they think he was an unmitigated hero, but because they view the future as uncertain and Israel’s survival until now as an accomplishment that cannot be dismissed.

      (I also think that the figure of 95% of Jews world wide paying homage to Sharon is an exaggeration.)

      • Walid
        January 13, 2014, 2:45 am

        “… the (partial) withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 that in fact deserve a degree of homage… to the military inexperience of people like Olmert.”

        You started out reasonably OK, Yonah, but you blew it when you got into the withdrawal from Gaza and the ensuing murderous siege for which you want to pay homage to Sharon. I guess you’re trying to play nice, but what you have in your genes can’t be held back. You almost sound disappointed that your killing machine wasn’t around to obliterate Gaza and Lebanon in the last Israeli assaults on them; chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.

      • LeaNder
        January 13, 2014, 5:34 am

        You started out reasonably

        Looked at really superficially, maybe. Lindberg is necessary to produce a straight line up to: “Israel’s survival”. The choice is pretty obvious. Isn’t he among the most famous American antisemites? But apart from his anticommunism and his resulting position concerning 1938 and beyond, what I guess is important is his antiwar position at the wrong time. From there on it folds in the US respect for the military and its disrespect for “armchair generals”, we could witness a lot in the last decade. Although war because of elections, which may have been partly the case, makes matters much worse. Now, as we read in the obituaries that may have been a basic knowledge Sharon learned from Churchill, as a man of the military you have to take care that you remain needed.

        the crossing of the Suez Canal in ’73

        crossing into Lebanon?

        the rest are hero worship hypotheticals:

        It is highly unlikely that the war on Lebanon would have taken the path it took had Sharon been Prime Minister at the time and even the war against Gaza would not have happened in the same form if Sharon had been Prime Minister. Thus Israel and those that support Israel miss the leadership that Sharon embodied, that his mere presence would have avoided and that his absence made “necessary”.

        Lebanon 2006 should have lasted longer?

        Wikipedia:

        In fact, the continued Israeli presence in South Lebanon resulted in continued low-intensity warfare and sporadic major combat until the Israeli withdrawal in 2000.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2014, 8:36 am

        Isn’t he among the most famous American antisemites?

        i never even heard he was an anti semite until the last decade. someone wrote a book and it became almost a mission to label him as primarily thus. i think there’s some resurgence to permanently brand him as such but he’s a very famous american for other reasons. and no, he’s not among the most famous american anti semites.

        but this is typical hasbara slander, to segue his name into a discussion about sharon? i mean seriously! there’s no comparison whatsoever. it’s a branding technique. obviously yonah could have picked an american famous for his racism, like this :

        Many people paid homage to George Wallace when he died, despite his racism. That doesn’t make them racists, does it?

        see? and even george wallace is not on any par with a slaughterer like sharon who will go down in history as the butcher, which defines him.

      • yonah fredman
        January 13, 2014, 8:10 pm

        annie- I will try to think up a more appropriate analogy than either Lindbergh or Wallace.

        as far as anyone doubting Lindbergh’s antiSemitic bona fides, please read the Des Moines speech of September 1941. There are those who read it and are not convinced, but I think that anyone who could put himself for thirty seconds into Jewish American shoes in 1941 would admit that the speech was one of the lowest points in American history vis a vis its Jewish citizens. (Low points vis a vis black citizens, native American indigenous and Japanese American citizens, all make a speech seem a flimsy thing compared to the very real material offenses that these groups suffered. But to American Jewish citizens, Lindbergh earned a high place on the list of people who maligned or threatened them. Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, in the first half of the century, they’re the pits.)

        It takes a blunt mind to read the Des Moines speech of September 41 who does not admit that it is a threatening speech.

      • talknic
        January 13, 2014, 4:38 am

        @ yonah fredman ” Certainly Sharon’s evil deeds were not the matter of mere words, but in fact the taking of lives and to ignore those parts of his career takes a certain apathy towards the blood that was spilled on his command. But in fact there were other aspects to his career- the crossing of the Suez Canal in ’73 (myth or truth, may be beside the point to those paying homage) and the (partial) withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 that in fact deserve a degree of homage”

        Pointing to a few small holes in the clouds does not = a clear day

        “The wars fought since Sharon’s death..”

        Since Saturday… WOW

        “It is highly unlikely that the war on Lebanon would have taken the path it took had Sharon been Prime Minister ..”

        Speculation can be fun…. you can say anything

      • Kathleen
        January 13, 2014, 8:29 am

        “speculation can be fun, you can say anything”

        Yes indeed

      • Kathleen
        January 13, 2014, 8:26 am

        I know little to nothing about Charles Lindbergh. Although I will say that I have come to question anyone the right wing radical Jewish community has labeled “racist” or “anti semitic” from the past based on who I have heard the I lobby, etc label “anti-semitic” during my 35 years of involvement with the I/P issue. People have been quickly labeled “anti -semitic” for criticizing the horrific apartheid policies of the Israeli government. People have been labeled “anti -semitic” because they have stood up to the I lobby in our congress. There is so much more here. But this fact has made me question whether the individuals labeled “anti-semitic” from the past had just questioned the manipulative power of the lobby and it’s disproportionate amount of influence on U.S. foreign policy

        Comparing Lindbergh to Sharon is absurd. How about comparing Mao Tse Tung or Pol Pot to Sharon. Now that may be the other extreme…but at least compare him to a leader who has committed thousands of murders

      • American
        January 13, 2014, 12:39 pm

        The Zionist definition of a anti semite is —-

        Anyone who declares that the interests of Israel/Jews/Zionism are not ‘entitled’ to infringe on or trump all other peoples and nation’s legitimate interest.

      • Donald
        January 13, 2014, 9:20 am

        “the crossing of the Suez Canal in ’73 (myth or truth, may be beside the point to those paying homage) and the (partial) withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 that in fact deserve a degree of homage.”

        I think a number of people (including one or two that I respect) have given credit to Sharon for the Gaza withdrawal, but I think they’re taking a rose-colored view of that action. It just replaced an occupation with a siege and was meant for PR purposes, not to bring peace. As PR it worked on its target audience–after that, Israel could kill Gazans at a much greater rate than Gazans could kill Israelis and still be praised as the nation which tried to do the right thing and got rockets in return.

        I don’t know what the truth is about Sharon’s record as a military man, leaving aside moral questions. Was he a good tactician or not? I haven’t read enough to distinguish myth from reality. But some people (including Americans I’ve seen in comment sections) seem to admire him for his alleged military prowess.

      • tree
        January 13, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Many people paid homage to Charles Lindbergh when he died, despite his racism. That doesn’t make them racists, does it? It means they paid more attention to the early part of his career (flying solo across the Atlantic, suffering the kidnapping of a son) rather than the later part of his career (advocating defeatism in the face of the rising menace of Germany, giving the Des Moines speech with its threat against the Jews, speaking about the Asian race in racist terms.)

        Still bashing Lindbergh I see, just because you didn’t like what he said in 1941 when he was opposed to the US entering WWII. Our discussion about him earlier prompted me to learn more of Lindbergh’s life to see if my characterization of him was correct. ( I read A. Scott Burg’s biography, which is recognized as the most comprehensive.) While my characterization of him in 1941 was mostly correct, I also learned that he was much more talented than I gave him credit for and he also managed to grow both intellectually and morally over his lifetime. I’m sure from your pathetic attempt to equate him to Ariel Sharon, a violent, hateful, and corrupt man whose only growth involved his ever expanding girth, that you had no such desire to question your own interpretation and lack of knowledge.

        First off, 1941 was not the “latter part” of Lindbergh’s career which lasted well into the 1970’s, before his death in 1974. He was in large part responsible for the advent and improvement of commercial aviation as well as being an inventor of a medical organ perfusion pump that advanced the field of organ transplantation. He also was a strong advocate for the rocket work of Robert Goddard and managed to convince Harry Guggenheim, his lifelong friend, to sponsor Goddard’s work. In the latter part of his career became highly involved in both nature conservation and the conservation of non-technological human cultures throughout the world. He supported rights for these so-called primitive cultures to continue to live as they wished, personallyliving at length with various tribes in Africa, Indonesia and the Phillippines while advocating for their cause. Whatever prejudices he adhered to in his early years, which were little different from the prejudices of mainstream American society of the time, he overcame in his latter years. So to say that Lindbergh was a racist is to mischaracterize him through your own ignorance.

        But to excuse the reverence accorded to Sharon, who spent his entire life visiting violence upon other semites does nothing but expose your own moral lapses. Should we excuse any German reverence for Hermann Goering because he was an ace pilot and largely responsible for the improvement in the pre-WWII German economy, just as you excuse Jewish reverence for Ariel Sharon because he was supposedly a brilliant military tactician? No, of course not. Your moral arguments are severely messed up, yonah.

      • yonah fredman
        January 13, 2014, 8:26 pm

        I think a better analogy would be to Andrew Jackson, who is revered by Democrats and populists and reviled by those who value the lives of the indigenous peoples of North America.

      • tree
        January 14, 2014, 1:20 am

        Sorry, but I don’t know a single person today who “reveres” Andrew Jackson. You are talking about attitudes from one hundred and fifty years ago, not today.

      • puppies
        January 13, 2014, 6:29 pm

        More slander:
        Linbergh, first. How dare you recycle long-exposed lies? He sure advocated non-intervention along with a majority of the people at the time. Well, the Zionaz… nist lobby didn’t like it because they wanted both involvement in WW2 and at the same time preferred target-shooting of Palestinians to resistance to the Nazis (See Dr. Edelman, by the way, the only surviving leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.) Now bring proof or **** trap.

        Then, please cease and desist from defaming the Thugs by comparing Sharon to them.

    • ziusudra
      January 13, 2014, 4:47 am

      Greetings yrn,
      …. if sharon (was) a thug……
      The Thagi were Highway Robbers in india some 300 yrs, ask the English?
      The would wine & dine their travellars with Music, Dance & Food & as soon
      as one would throw back their heads in laughter, he had the noose around
      his neck, his fortune, big or small, was theirs!
      Sharon was a little puny nothing compared to any of the infamous greats of
      the past, such as Caesar, Caligula, Nero, Vlad the impaler,Cortes, King Leopold, Spain, Portugal, Holland, the US, The French, the UK, Adolf, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.
      Zionistan does everything on a small scale because they are !
      Sharon? For every 40K males, you get one sociopath. sycopaths are more numerous. He couldn’t even fill de boots of Gen Custer in his incompetent lust
      for destruction!
      ziusudra

  5. ritzl
    January 12, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Just think “Aspen Institute,” just.

    Colleague, great thinker like me (i.e destined for stardom/this could be me), elite comrade, powerguy to suck up to, all come to mind as the prevailing, collegial elitist mindset.

    As Sumud said, in a few years that will change, but for now it’s an affinity and de rigueur.

    • Kathleen
      January 13, 2014, 2:29 pm

      The Aspen Institute was not so tightly controlled by Zionist in its early days.

      • ritzl
        January 14, 2014, 5:31 pm

        @Kathleen- I’m not sure it is even now, but it is/is intended to be/has always been a confluence of elitist, clique-dynamic, lingering-front-hug, group-think.

        How Zionism fits into all that is the source of much debate… (cue “Serenity” line…) :)

  6. seafoid
    January 12, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Sharon didn’t have to live with the consequences of his decisions. ( Neither did Hitler btw. ) That’ll be for ordinary Jewish schmucks in the future. I don’t expect Saban or the Dersh to be on the frontlines either. And as Walid says about Lebanon, politicians of whatever religion don’t do accountability when the bodies start piling up. Live by the sword die by the sword is no strategy for ordinary Jewish parents with kids. Accounts won’t be settled with “Arik” – other Jews will pay. Ruthlessness is fine when your army is winning.

  7. MHughes976
    January 12, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Richard Ben Cramer’s book, which I keep on about, has a lot to say about how Sharon was repudiated and regarded as ‘a disgraceful officer’ by many right-thinking Israelis, including many army colleagues, for a time, but how eventually even his former stern critics, many of them, began saying ‘There’s no one else’, much to Cramer’s astonishment, frustration and distress. He had fully grasped the logic of his cause, I think. He had a sort of mental clarity denied many others, including the many round the world who (like me, fool that I was) thought that everything would be alright once the Zionist moderates and Palestinian moderates managed to come to power at the same time.

    • seafoid
      January 12, 2014, 3:52 pm

      I think he was like Ian Paisley, even though Paisley didn’t lead an army. A rabble rouser, someone who dared go beyond the cosy middleclass consensus, audacious with the capacity to make people gasp at his suggestions , a mould breaker, no surrender, a hate monger (Paisley hated Catholics, Sharon Palestinians and Arabs), inspired many a murder, became all fluffy in older age, lured by power, left a dysfunctional society in his wake and most of all did nothing for the people who voted for him – Loyalists and poor Mizrahim are still trash in their respective societies.

  8. seafoid
    January 12, 2014, 3:30 pm

    The Guardian has a real bs line about “Ariel Sharon, who divides opinion”. Charles Manson, the underappreciated classical music enthusiast and Jeff Dahmer, who was loved for his cheesecakes are further characters in the series. Impunity drives the madness.

  9. Sycamores
    January 12, 2014, 4:00 pm

    Palestinians have good reasons to celebrate the death of Sharon link to theguardian.com but in an ironic twist it’s the israelis that are getting investigated for their expression of joy at Sharon death link to timesofisrael.com making placards stating

    “Hearty congratulations to Ariel Sharon upon his demise.”

    • seafoid
      January 13, 2014, 11:12 am

      He did shaft the Gaza settlers which I guess is their gripe. For years they adored him. Vlad the Impaler wouldn’t satisfy them now.

  10. seafoid
    January 12, 2014, 4:11 pm

    . link to ft.com

    “The former leader, who served as Israel’s prime minister from 2001-05, will be given a military funeral, with his casket to be borne by eight Israel Defence Force generals.
    Joe Biden, US vice-president, Jiri Rusnok, the Czech prime minister, and Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who heads the Middle East Quartet, are among the foreign dignitaries due to attend Monday’s ceremony.”

    Sharon was very kind to the IDF budget.
    The Czechs lost a lot of Jews in WW2. Biden is funded by bots. So is Blair.

  11. seafoid
    January 12, 2014, 5:36 pm

    2 people I am looking forward to reading on the topic of Sharon – Beinart and Finkelstein. How will Beinart triangulate ?

    • Citizen
      January 12, 2014, 7:53 pm

      @ seafoid
      Aw, don’t you wanna read Dershie too? I’d like to hear Nancy Pelosi speak up about Sharon. Hey, maybe Beiden will say something on tv for the cameras…

    • thankgodimatheist
      January 12, 2014, 10:30 pm

      Read something Finkelstein wrote about Sharon yesterday. As one can imagine, not exactly a fan of the monster.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    January 12, 2014, 6:26 pm

    RE: “But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions – and Arik was always crystal clear about where he stood . . .” ~ Kerry

    MY COMMENT: LOL! ! ! Sharon convinced Begin to invade Lebanon back in 1982 (“Operation Peace in Galilee”), telling him that the sole aim was to push the PLO 40 km back from Lebanon’s southern border (with Israel).

    SEE: “The War of Lies” , by Uri Avnery, gush-shalom.org09/06/12

    [EXCERPTS] Thirty Years ago this week, the Israeli army crossed into Lebanon and started the most stupid war in Israel’s history. It lasted for 18 years. About 1500 Israeli soldiers and untold numbers of Lebanese and Palestinians were killed.
    Almost all wars are based on lies. Lies are considered legitimate instruments of war. Lebanon War I (as it was later called) was a glorious example.
    From beginning to end (if it has ended yet) it was a war of deceit and deception, falsehoods and fabrications.
    THE LIES started with the official name: “Operation Peace in Galilee”.

    If one asks Israelis now, 99.99% of them will say with all sincerity: “We had no choice. They launched katyushas at the Galilee from Lebanon every day. We had to stop them.” TV anchormen and anchorwomen, as well as former cabinet ministers have been repeating this throughout the week. Quite sincerely. Even people who were already adults at the time.
    The simple fact is that for 11 months before the war, not a single shot was fired across the Israeli-Lebanese border. A cease-fire was in force and the Palestinians on the other side of the border kept it scrupulously. To everybody’s surprise, Yasser Arafat succeeded in imposing it on all the radical Palestinian factions, too.
    At the end of May, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Washington DC. He asked for American agreement to invade Lebanon. Haig said that the US could not allow it, unless there were a clear and internationally recognized provocation.
    And lo and behold, the provocation was provided at once. Abu Nidal, the anti-Arafat and anti-PLO master terrorist, sent his own cousin to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, who was grievously wounded.

    In retaliation, Israel bombed Beirut and the Palestinians fired back, as expected. The Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, allowed Sharon to invade Lebanese territory up to 40 km, “to put the Galilee settlements out of reach of the katyushas.”
    When one of the intelligence chiefs told Begin at the cabinet meeting that Abu Nidal’s organization was not a member of the PLO, Begin famously answered: “They are all PLO”.
    General Matti Peled, my political associate at the time, firmly believed that Abu Nidal had acted as an agent of Sharon. So do all the Palestinians I know.
    The lie “they shot at us every day” has taken such a hold on the public mind that it is nowadays useless to dispute it. It is an illuminating example of how a myth can take possession of the public mind, including even of people who had seen with their own eyes that the opposite was true.
    NINE MONTHS before the war, Sharon told me about his plan for a New Middle East. . .
    . . . His design for the region, as told me then (and which I published nine months before the war), was:
    • To attack Lebanon and install a Christian dictator who would serve Israel,
    • Drive the Syrians out of Lebanon,
    • Drive the Palestinians out of Lebanon into Syria, from where they would then be pushed by the Syrians into Jordan.
    • Get the Palestinians to carry out a revolution in Jordan, kick out King Hussein and turn Jordan into a Palestinian state,
    • Set up a functional arrangement under which the Palestinian state (in Jordan) would share power in the West Bank with Israel.

    Being a single-minded operator, Sharon convinced Begin to start the war, telling him that the sole aim was to push the PLO 40 km back. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to zope.gush-shalom.org

    • RoHa
      January 12, 2014, 9:34 pm

      “And lo and behold, the provocation was provided at once. Abu Nidal, the anti-Arafat and anti-PLO master terrorist, sent his own cousin to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, who was grievously wounded.”

      Just one more reason to suspect Abu Nidal as being in the pay of Israel.

      • Taxi
        January 13, 2014, 11:41 am

        Abu Nidal was a mossad agent – no two ways about it. Patrick Seale proved it in his investigative book, A Gun For Hire:
        link to amazon.com

    • thankgodimatheist
      January 12, 2014, 10:18 pm

      “when I was a young lawyer in Boston and marveling at his commitment to cause and country. ”
      Imagine if this was said about Eichmann.

  13. hophmi
    January 12, 2014, 7:33 pm

    Simply put, Andrew Jackson was a thug too. Most Americans venerate him today.

    • hophmi
      January 13, 2014, 7:42 am

      Put through.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2014, 8:24 am

        you can wait for someone else to come along hops. i don’t take orders from you. if you’re leaving timely reminders use “please”, otherwise there’s no compelling reason to clear your comment before the other 95 that are stacked up.

      • amigo
        January 13, 2014, 9:35 am

        “Put through.”hopknee

        Wait your turn zio.

        You are not at a checkpoint armed to the teeth with your ugly zionist jackboot on some Palestinians neck.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2014, 9:49 am

        i’ve asked/informed hops in the past i don’t like intercepting his rude instructions. especially when i wake up in the morning (and the sun has not even risen here in california) and find one right on the top of the list (they flow in chronologically so the new ones are on top). one might think it would be easy to say ‘please’, but instead you should see the screaming fit he’s having right now (uncleared comments, he’s calling me stalin and other things in capital letters). maybe i should clear one so people can get an idea of what the life of a moderator is like, nah.

        plus, he’s somehow under the impression i could get in trouble for not clearing his comments!!!!! which is really a farce. anyway, i have another 50 to go. he’s going to have to wait until someone else just happens to be in the mood to spend their precious time moderating. because until he learns to either say please on his little ‘reminder’ notes , or just waits along with everyone else, it certainly won’t be me clearing his comments. tsk tsk. maybe he can email phil and get him to do it.

        one might think he would have learned this a long long time ago when i informed him i didn’t like this ordering tone, but nooooo.

      • Bumblebye
        January 13, 2014, 9:55 am

        Perhaps behaving like a *thug* to MW staff should be a banning offense?
        I’d make it so.

      • amigo
        January 13, 2014, 9:57 am

        “but instead you should see the screaming fit he’s having right now (uncleared comments, he’s calling me stalin and other things in capital letters).” Annie “Got” her gun, Robbins.

        He is probably “hopping” mad>

      • eljay
        January 13, 2014, 10:16 am

        >> i’ve asked/informed hops in the past i don’t like intercepting his rude instructions. … one might think it would be easy to say ‘please’, but instead you should see the screaming fit he’s having right now (uncleared comments, he’s calling me stalin and other things in capital letters).

        Another seemingly hardy Zio-supremacist collapses into the angry petulance of victimhood. It’s such a tough gig… :-(

      • Djinn
        January 14, 2014, 3:42 am

        “Put through.”hopknee

        Wait your turn zio.

        You are not at a checkpoint armed to the teeth with your ugly zionist jackboot on some Palestinians neck.

        Checkpoints might not be a bad idea.

        This is not a Zionist site. There are thousands of them and only one Mondoweiss. Zionist posters are a demographic threat to the democratic and anti-Zionist nature of this site. It is only sensible that they are thoroughly vetted in the same manner they approve of Israel thoroughly vetting Palestinians.

        So each and every time they post they should first have to wait in line for several hours at minimum. Every word must be checked and approved. Word limits may be arbitrarily imposed (like the limit on the number of eggs residents of Qalqilya may pass through checkpoints with) They should expect to be publicly humiliated on a fairly regular basis. Some times for no reason their ‘checkpoint’ should be closed for days at a time.

        All of these things should be acceptable to a Zionist.

      • amigo
        January 13, 2014, 9:42 am

        Annie, we appreciate your hard work and unstinting commitment to justice by being up so early to enable us to post.

        As to Hopni, let the ziosupremacist see what it is like to be kept waiting (Palestinian,s) at someone else’s pleasure as others(illegal squatters) sail through with minimal hindrance.

      • hophmi
        January 13, 2014, 10:16 am

        “i’ve asked/informed hops in the past i don’t like intercepting his rude instructions.”

        And I’ve told you many times that I’m just doing what I was told to do, which is to inform the moderator if my comments were sitting in the hopper a long time, while other comments sent earlier were going up around it. You seem to think every request to put a comment through is rude. I’m reminding you again, that we’ve been told many times that when we see our comments sitting in extended threads for long periods of time, to simply remind the moderator to put them through.

        “one might think it would be easy to say ‘please’, but instead you should see the screaming fit he’s having right now (uncleared comments, he’s calling me stalin and other things in capital letters). maybe i should clear one so people can get an idea of what the life of a moderator is like, nah.”

        One might think that moderators would understand the basic ethics of their job, which is that censoring substantive comments and commenting on interpersonal, off-list requests in order to smear the commentator, is way, way out of line. Now, you’re allowing in comment after comment criticizing me in response to your comment, even though all of them are non-substantive.

        “plus, he’s somehow under the impression i could get in trouble for not clearing his comments!!!!!”

        Not at all. I’m merely letting you know that the administration here is well aware of this game you like to play. The last thing I expect is for you to get in trouble for it.

        “he’s going to have to wait until someone else just happens to be in the mood to spend their precious time moderating.”

        Annie, you’re not fooling anybody. You don’t like me because you disagree with me politically. You’d rather let through 150 comments that are copies of one another, including countless comments that violate the comment policies against both ad hominem attacks and antisemitism, than let through my comments. You’ve long allowed me to be subjected to a campaign of intimidation around here, including allowing in comment after comment misstating things I’ve said even when I’ve endeavored again and again to correct the commentator, allowing gutter name-calling and profanity to be directed at me in clear contravention of the comment policy, and allowing people to assert, again and again, that I’m being paid for my participation here, which is untrue.

        When you do this, and when you engage in it yourself as a commentator, as you have many times, you’re in a very poor position to complain about rudeness or about anyone else’s anger, which for me is a exceedingly rare, and was brought about this time by your sending through my request to put my comment through without sending through my comment. It’s bush-league, and you know it. I know very well that you’d be happy if I left and gave up. Stop trying; it ain’t gonna happen.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 13, 2014, 6:29 pm

        i’ve cleared literally thousands of your comments whether i like them or not hophmi. regarding your curt notes, someone will eventually respond them, but it won’t be me.

      • Bumblebye
        January 13, 2014, 10:06 am

        Did you apply for your MW checkpoint pass, Hop?
        Or maybe it’s expired.
        Or the cattle-chute’s a bit crowded today.
        Or you’re the wrong demographic – no males between 16 and 55?

    • Cliff
      January 13, 2014, 11:24 am

      hophmi said:

      Simply put, Andrew Jackson was a thug too. Most Americans venerate him today.

      Which means absolutely nothing. Who ‘most Americans’ ‘venerate’ is entirely contingent upon the K-12 education system and current cultural norms.

      We can attack the education system and have an actual debate on the historical facts of someone’s favorite pioneer/statesman/nationalist/etc.

      So it always comes back to the facts. The popularity contest is irrelevant to the discussion MW seeks to incite.

      There are a lot of historical figures (Washington) and events (Thanksgiving) whose reputation reflects upon modern Western civilization.

      That’s why their racism/bigotry/etc. or their crimes against humanity are whitewashed.

      • hophmi
        January 13, 2014, 11:51 am

        “Which means absolutely nothing. Who ‘most Americans’ ‘venerate’ is entirely contingent upon the K-12 education system and current cultural norms.”

        It means that people tend to venerate their military heroes and ex-heads of state.

        “We can attack the education system and have an actual debate on the historical facts of someone’s favorite pioneer/statesman/nationalist/etc.”

        Agreed.

        “So it always comes back to the facts. The popularity contest is irrelevant to the discussion MW seeks to incite.”

        I don’t think MW is looking to initiate a discussion here. I think MW is simply looking to push an unnuanced and simplistic message.

        “There are a lot of historical figures (Washington) and events (Thanksgiving) whose reputation reflects upon modern Western civilization.”

        Yes, so it should be easy to understand why some Jews and some Israelis have positive things to say about Ariel Sharon without going through the demonization sequence here, where you condemn them as people and as a nation for behaving as normal people behave.

      • Cliff
        January 13, 2014, 1:03 pm

        hophmi said:

        […]where you condemn them as people and as a nation for behaving as normal people behave.

        If that’s what ‘normal people’ behave like then ‘they’ (the general ‘they’) deserved to be condemned.

        Wouldn’t it also be normal for Germans to venerate Hitler? Hitler, who was one of the most charismatic leaders of German history?

        That’s a rhetorical question.

        I think my definition is accurate.

        Washington and Thanksgiving reflect on the current state of things in America.

        Hitler does not for current-era Germany.

        Ariel Sharon absolutely does for current-era Israel.

        Which in-turn means that Israelis – by Israelis, I mean Israeli Jews – do not mind the war crimes because they view those war crimes as the infinitesimal periphery to the great Zionist dream/enterprise.

        So yes, Israelis – and anyone else – deserve to be condemned for venerating a scumbag war criminal. However, since that scumbag reflects upon the current state of things in Israel – it’s not surprising that said Israelis venerate him. So hophmi, it turns out that people @MW definitely ‘understand’ why you and other Zionists are mourning the death of a scumbag. We just disagree.

        BTW – I’d like to see a survey on ‘most Americans’ thinking the same about our Founding Fathers or prominent historical figures. I wouldn’t doubt it – but I think there is more complexity in America since we’re a diverse country of 300 million.

        Israel is not.

        Israel is a Jewish ethnocracy.

    • Donald
      January 13, 2014, 10:06 pm

      “Simply put, Andrew Jackson was a thug too. Most Americans venerate him today.”

      Andrew Jackson is a good analogy, but I don’t know how many Americans venerate him, beyond knowing he’s on our currency and so must be a great man, and to the extent they do it’s for one of three reasons-

      A) Ignorance of his ethnic cleansing
      B) Knowledge of his ethnic cleansing, which they either embrace or don’t think matters. (That’d be analogous to how people can admire Sharon today).
      C) Or sometimes people know about his crimes and condemn them, but cut him some slack because he was a product of his time. He was also a slaveowner–same argument.

      If Andrew Jackson were a contemporary figure acting in the recent past as he did in the 1800’s and people venerated him, that’d be a sign that the US hadn’t made one inch of progress on racial issues since the 1830’s.

  14. Antidote
    January 12, 2014, 10:29 pm

    Fisk on Sharon (2001)

    link to thirdworldtraveler.com

    • amigo
      January 13, 2014, 6:49 am

      “With power, of course, comes respect. CNN now calls Sharon “a barrel- framed veteran general who has built a reputation for flattening obstacles and reshaping Israel’s landscape”, while the BBC World Service on Sunday managed to avoid the fateful words Sabra and Chatila by referring only to his “chequered military career”. As for Nadia Salameh, “Sharon’s role here shows what he is capable of. If Sharon is elected, the whole peace process falls by the wayside because he doesn’t want peace.” It’s a relief to recall that up to a million Israelis demonstrated their moral integrity in 1982 by protesting in Tel Aviv against the massacre. And equally chilling to reflect that some of those one million ­ if the polls are accurate ­ may well be voting for Mr Sharon today. “Fisk in 2001

      Fisk the prophet.

  15. Brewer
    January 12, 2014, 11:46 pm

    Thanks for the link to Miko Peled’s site.
    Spotted this little gem in the comments:

    “Richard Witty
    January 5th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Prior to his death, he made half the change to peace, renouncing the viability of annexation, declaring that annexation was a dead end.

    He never shifted to desiring good relations with a healthy egood neighbor as a means of israeli security.

    He certainly never proceeded to heal injustices that Palestinians experienced.

    He never revised his understanding of the virtue of Zionism, but did revise one significant element of its form. His application of that revision was an example of carelessly implemented adventurism rather his careful.”

    Couldn’t make sense of it. Deja vu all over again!

    • Donald
      January 13, 2014, 9:51 am

      “Couldn’t make sense of it. Deja vu all over again!’

      That’s the old Witty style, but in fairness, I could make out the meaning of most of it, except the last paragraph. Even that has one plausible translation into English. Keep in mind that like any good translator, I don’t do it in a woodenly literalistic way, but try to convey the sense and meaning that I think the author meant to convey in his original language. Here goes–

      “Sharon always knew that Zionism was basically correct, but he incorrectly thought it provided justifications for foolish and unjust applications of force.”

    • Sumud
      January 13, 2014, 11:58 am

      Ugh word salad all over again.

      I am 100% sure that right here on MW Witty would have encountered the article which quoted Dov Weisglass on the real reason for Sharon’s faux withdrawal from Gaza (formaldehyde). Yet he bangs on with his lies.

  16. AntiGovtRebel
    January 13, 2014, 12:45 am

    I am getting sick of the word “unshakeable”.

  17. amigo
    January 13, 2014, 7:10 am

    Some related words to thug.

    “cutthroat, scoundrel, villain; assassin, bandit, bravo, brigand, criminal, crook, desperado, felon, gunman, highwayman, lawbreaker, mafioso, malefactor, offender, outlaw, perp, perpetrator, pirate; pickpocket, racketeer, robber, swindler, thief, vandal; juvenile delinquent, tearaway .

    I wonder what Sharon,s school reports looked like.

    Bully, likely to kick dogs and tear the wings from insects and beat up his classmates.

    That report would be priceless.

  18. Naftush
    January 13, 2014, 8:43 am

    Reading these posts, I think I’ve discovered a new disease: thesaurus frenzy. Over a man who was effectively dead for eight years, no less.

    • amigo
      January 13, 2014, 10:08 am

      “Reading these posts, I think I’ve discovered a new disease: thesaurus frenzy. “Naftush

      Sticks and stones can break my bones but “Words” can never hurt you.

      Unless you have a guilt complex.

  19. marc b.
    January 13, 2014, 9:33 am

    annie,

    I demand that you give hophmi special attention. you must review his comments first. no, better yet, just post them without the usual editorial review process. it is his right, and, I think you’d agree, in the best interests of this site.

    /s/
    yours, most humbly

    hophmi’s lawyer

    • hophmi
      January 13, 2014, 11:52 am

      “I demand that you give hophmi special attention. you must review his comments first. no, better yet, just post them without the usual editorial review process. it is his right, and, I think you’d agree, in the best interests of this site.”

      Another comment that has nothing to do with the discussion here.

      • marc b.
        January 13, 2014, 4:08 pm

        don’t air your petty complaints publicly and I won’t comment on them. simple.

  20. DICKERSON3870
    January 14, 2014, 3:57 pm

    Looking at that photo of Sharon, he almost looks human (but his actions clearly prove otherwise)!

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