Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another Tack: Gilad is not Avigdor

Sarah Honig
Another Tack
18 February '11

By definition, opinion-molders determine what we focus on. Whatever doesn’t serve their agenda will be defined as nothing we need bother our inferior uninformed minds about. We’re not to dwell on anything untoward in the fortunes of protagonists who’re either favored by advocacy journalists or who aren’t in the way of bias-disseminators. If it doesn’t pay to get on someone’s case, odds are our outrage won’t be drummed up.

That’s why a deadly hush greeted the announcement that the police has at long last concluded its lethargic-cum-reluctant decade-long investigation into alleged bribery charges in the Cyril Kern and Martin Schlaff cases.

Oh hum. Who cares? After all, Gilad Sharon’s name isn’t Avigdor Lieberman.

The constabulary’s bottom line is that prima facie sufficient evidence exists to indict Omri and Gilad Sharon, sons of the comatose former prime minister. That of course doesn’t mean they will be. As the police admits, there has been massive obfuscation, destroyed data is irretrievable, the confederates are abroad and the unadulterated truth can probably never be fully ascertained.

Besides, the Sharon boys boast a formidable record of beating the system. In 2006 Omri did a mere few months on corruption charges, while the whopping Greek island case against Gilad was controversially and unconvincingly dropped like a hot potato in 2003.

The Sharon siblings, like their dad in his day, have discovered there’s safety in teaming up with media headliners. Perhaps that’s why, with much attendant hoopla, Gilad recently registered for Kadima membership. The media love to knock Binyamin Netanyahu and, conversely, to boost his nemesis Tzipi Livni. It’s not difficult to figure which choice is more prudent for sanctuary-seeking hotshots, to say nothing of incorrigibly ambitious yet homeless opportunists.

And so recurrently we hear of new recruits rallying to Tzipi’s flag. Kadima, which thus far was a veritable refugee camp for public figures with embarrassing legal entanglements, now attracts more of the same plus a retinue of proven flunkies like the Second Lebanon War’s most scandalous antihero, then-chief-of-General-Staff Dan Halutz.

One of the IDF’s more disastrous commanders, Halutz reached the military apex by cozying up to the Sharons and promising to collaborate in their disengagement scheme. Tzipi herself was the 2006 war’s notoriously unsuccessful foreign minister. Her lack of experience held her back from embarking on diplomatic dead ends as much as the strategic amateurism of Amir Peretz prevented him from pompously parading as Napoleon reincarnate.

Like Halutz, Tzipi too soared dazzlingly through advantageous attachment to the highfliers’ coattails. An unremarkable backbencher, she conveniently became Ariel Sharon’s earliest pro-disengagement groupie. Her effective speaking style – unfailingly sanctimonious and fortified by yuppie business-like, authoritative sounding cadences – served him well. Concomitantly, the spotlight he offered her catapulted anonymous Tzipi to prominence.

Unsurprisingly, Tzipi and Arik together ditched the vexingly uncooperative Likud for the ostensibly sparkling new Kadima model.

Her principles proved every bit as few, flexible and expendable as her patron’s. She gloried in supposed squeaky cleanliness but uttered not a syllable about Sharon’s corruption, nor that of any of her Kadima fair-weather friends.

IN A reversal of fortunes, the once-influential Gilad now ironically curries Tzipi’s favors, hoping she’d help him like his clan helped her. Yet for a time Gilad appeared on the verge of confessing the error of his ways (even if he didn’t beat his breast in specific contrition).

The first hint of a sobering reconsideration came in a Yediot Aharonot op-ed, entitled “It’s all about hatred,” which Gilad published in March 2008. Its every sentence deserved to be chiseled in stone.

What Gilad wrote should have become no less than the mantra of Israeli diplomacy and PR. That, however, was rendered improbable when his own dad – whose sentiments were once identical to what Gilad belatedly expounded – disdainfully performed an abrupt U-turn for which he never bothered to account.

The senior Sharon’s 2005 disengagement folly not only callously displaced Israeli patriots, not only poisoned the souls of soldiers and policemen, not only presented Jews as portable interlopers, not only emboldened genocidal enemies, not only brought Hamas to power, not only turned Gaza into an armed-to-the-teeth military encampment, not only exposed greater and greater stretches of the hinterland to terrorist rocket barrages, it also distorted the very truth of which Gilad afterward reminded us.

Perhaps the gravest and most abiding sin committed by the father – along with his accomplice sons and self-serving entourage that included Livni – was to lead too many Israelis to lose faith in the justice of our cause and to worship the Golden Calf of “territorial compromise,” as then embodied in Arik’s blandishments, extolling disengagement’s boon-to-come.

Nonetheless, with brazen hindsight wisdom, Gilad mocked the notion that “the moment the conflict between us and the Palestinians is resolved, the reason for the Arab and Muslim world’s hostility toward us will disappear… This conviction is naïve and false – the Palestinian issue is the pretext, the means used to slam Israel. It’s not the problem. The Arab world never reconciled itself to our existence as a Jewish state in the Mideastern space.

“The only Arab maps where Israel appears are military maps. When it comes to the maps used in geography classes in schools, we don’t exist…

If the Palestinian issue troubled Arabs so much, what stopped them from establishing a Palestinian state before 1967 and the Six Day War?…

Terrorism against Jews here started more than 120 years ago, long before the Six Day War and the War of Independence, before we were accused of expulsion or occupation.”

Terrorist atrocities, Gilad deduced, were driven “not by distress but by hate,” by the fact that “radical Islamic fanaticism is unwilling to accept the West, its way of life and culture, and seeks to enforce its dark and zealous beliefs through any means available.”

The Sharon scion advised Americans and Europeans “to realize that pressuring Israel to make concessions wouldn’t bring them the calm they so covet and wouldn’t allow them to go back to a life of hedonistic euphoria. Giving in to terrorism and violence doesn’t appease the aggressor – as was proven by Hitler – but only encourages him… People around the world and around here too should realize that the zealot demon who emerged from the bottle cannot be compromised with. We can only push it back with strength and determination and bury it deep in the sands of the Arabian Peninsula.”

Is this what Gilad (indeed also his father) believed all along? Was the Sharons’ disengagement nothing more than a cynical ploy to extricate themselves from legal travails – by making themselves indispensable enough to the Left to benefit from its sway in the media and the judicial establishment? Or did Gilad experience an epiphany several years back?

Is Gilad flip-flopping again? His above-quoted op-ed hardly meshes with Livni’s indignant hectoring and surely sounds more like Avigdor than Tzipi. Is the erratic Sharon spin about to gyrate ever-expediently again in the worn Kadima custom? Déjà vu?

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