Saturday, December 8, 2007

Prisoner Of Zion

“Though I knew my human rights activities could lead to my arrest,” Natan Sharansky said recently, “I also was convinced that the free world would stand by my side.” And as it happens the first public speech I ever gave was in his defense—in 1971, a graduate student warming-up an audience of thousands for Claude Ryan, the open-spirited editor of Montreal’s liberal daily, Le Devoir.

But since coming to Israel in 1986, and riding his refusenik celebrity to political power, Sharansky has stood for transcendent Jewish sovereignty in Greater Israel and particularly over Greater Jerusalem. He’s made common cause with theocrats, settlers, and people who believe Israel’s Arab citizens should be disenfranchised, if not expelled. He has justified the abuses of occupation—land grabs, house demolitions, preemptive fatal force, etc.—warning of an apocalyptic struggle against terror. He has never stood up for a single Palestinian protesting abuses of his human rights.

"Above all, Jerusalem is the base of our identity," Sharansky said more recently, giving a whole new meaning to the term, prisoner of Zion. He is now leading efforts to foil the Annapolis process. He offers more than 300,000 Palestinians, residents of the eastern parts of the city, nothing of citizenship; his lectures on democracy to Americans never quite get to the consent of the governed. "The problem is that there are many people who want to get rid of their identity," Sharansky added. He should know.

It is adolescent, no doubt, to be angered by hypocrisy. But then, I was pretty much an adolescent when I admired him.


bar_kochba132 said...

I guess you are still an adolescent. It is adolescent for you to deny the eternal connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. It is adolescent of you to deny Sharansky the right to be a Jewish nationalist while you celebrate Palestinian nationalism (after Shimon Peres once said that "spirit is more important than land" so therefore I would conclude that he would oppose giving the Palestinians a state so that they can learn the lesson he is teaching about the "unimportance" of land). It is adolescent of you to think that Jerusalem could be divided without it turning into a battleground like Baghdad, Beirut or Belfast. It is adolescent of you to think you a superior to a man who risked his life not only for the rights of Jews, but for the rights of all people in the USSR.

bar_kochba132 said...

Where in the Arab world does the population have a regime in power that bases itself on "consent of the governed"? Egypt? Syria? Even if Israel gave up the Arab parts of the Jerusalem, the people there wouldn't benefit by having a regime based on "consent of the governed".
Jerusalem Arabs have been offered citizenship. A committe set up to study the ramifications of dividing the city found that all the Arabs would have to be offered full citizenship before their areas were turned over to Palestinian rule. So my next question is....why do you get upset with Israel controlling the Arab parts of Jerusalem, but you aren't upset with Israel controlling other Arab-populated areas such as the Galilee with large Arab towns like Nazeret and Um El-Fahem or the Negev?
I'll tell you already alluded to it in your previous thread about the demographic "threat" from the Orthodox/religious community in Israel. You feel that if Israel gives up its Jewish holy places in Jerusalem, this will weaken the religious community, something that wouldn't happen if Um El-Fahem were given over to Arab control.
BTW-What do you think of Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to hand over Israeli Arab areas like those I mentioned above to Palestinian rule? Let me think he is a "racist", but of course, you are NOT a racist for wanting to give up the Arab areas of Jerusalem, right?

Lawrence said...

I won't attempt to deal with Bar-Kochba's comment point by point; I'll just say that I was moved by this posting of Bernie's in particular, because it evoked, more clearly and openly than most writers on these matters, how one can change one's views, change who one is, and then look back at that person one once was and consider where one has gotten to.

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