Sharon’s Critique of the Authoritarian Likud Party
Ariel Sharon’s resignation from the Likud Party is a more forceful critique of that party than any I have offered.
Likudniks are notoriously unable to deal with being criticized, so my simple and accurate characterization of the party as having colonialist and fascistic tendencies has driven its acolytes on this side of the Atlantic into a piranha-like frenzy. Being cultists of a sort, they play all sorts of dishonest political games, such as equating criticism of their party with racism (?), or equating their party with Israel itself and then saying that I called Israel a fascist state because I had so characterized the Likud. (I did not, of course, but then the surrogate American Likud has millions of dollars with which to smear me and an easy in with the major media, whereas I just have this little web site; so their megaphone is rather louder than mine.)
It would be rather as though American Latinos should take vehement exception to any criticism of Argentina’s colonels and their authoritarian and murderous state in the 1980s. No one ever complains about people “maligning” Argentina, but the Likudniks have an obsession that their party be completely above criticism (or as they would call it, “slander.”)
So how delicious it is that Sharon has left the Likud because it is too fascistic even for him! The party’s highly authoritarian politburo was an albatross around Sharon’s neck. Its strident insistence on continuing to steal Palestinian land and never trading land for peace would have accelerated the engorgement of the West Bank by Israel and the consequent transformation of Israel into a binational state. You can’t annex the West Bank without getting a couple of million Palestinians into the bargain. The very hard line Likudniks would deal with that prospect by just ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, but Sharon is enough a man of the world to know that the US (and especially Condi), the European Union, and the Muslim world would never put up with that Milosevic-like war crime.
If Israelis really care about their future, they will swing behind the new Labor leader, Amir Peretz. In fact, a new coalition of those seeking a negotiated settlement with security hawks like Sharon could allow Labor and Sharon’s new party to marginalize the “Greater Israel” (i.e. expansionist, colonizing and fascistic) tendency in Israeli politics, which is mainly sited in the Likud.
The lack of a strong Palestinian leader, and Sharon’s refusal to deal with the Palestinian leadership that now exists, make it unlikely that there will be real progress on Arab-Israeli peace any time soon. You can’t declare peace unilaterally, the way you can war. But if the Likud can be gotten out of office, at least the ruling party in Israel won’t be actively attempting to destroy any peace process.