How to Help Sharon

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If you want to help Ariel Sharon to remain in power é here is some useful advice.

One: Talk about a “National Unity Government” that will be set up after the elections.

This is a sophisticated trick. It says, in effect, that there is no difference between Likud and Labor. If so, why vote for Labor? If it is nothing but a personal choice between Sharon and Mitzna, who will anyhow sit tomorrow side-by-side at the same table, isn’t the experienced and charismatic Sharon preferable to the inexperienced and prosaic Mitzna? On the other hand, this is a sure recipe for driving away from the Labor party everyone who detests Sharon.

Furthermore, those who speak about a Unity Government say, in effect, that the Likud is sure to win. Nobody talks about a Unity Government led by Mitzna. It is a foregone conclusion that the Unity Government will be headed by Sharon. Since the floating votes always tend to float to the prospective victor, the message is clear.

This may also prove to be a prophecy that fulfils itself. If Mitzna is defeated, the party will fall again into the hands of the Knights of the Sticky Behinds.

Two: Spread the story about the moderate “New Sharon”, who has practically become a leftist and whose only dream is to enter history as the man who has made peace with the Palestinians.

Anyone familiar with Sharon knows that this is a myth, the creative product of spin-doctors.

Sharon has not become a moderate. For two years now he has waged a relentless war against the Palestinians, with the aim of breaking the Palestinian nation by destroying their national leadership, killing their leaders and demolishing their economic infrastructure. He has blocked every channel of dialogue. He has committed daily provocations. He has built settlements at a frantic pace. The “moderate” declarations were designed for America and Israeli innocents.

Sharons statements about a “Palestinian state” are nonsense. He is prepared, at most, to give the Palestinians some emasculated autonomy over 40% of the occupied territories (8% of pre-1948 Palestine), and this only after the Palestinians raise their hands and capitulate unconditionally. He knows perfectly well that no Palestinians will accept that. Therefore, the real aim is to drive the Palestinians out of the country. For this program there is a clear majority in the Likud, Shas, Mafdal and National Union parties, who may constitute a majority in the next elections.

The main peddler of the pictures of the Peace-loving Sharon is Shimon Peres. After spending the last two years as the National Prostitute, he is longing for more years of the same. He may turn his private farce into a national tragedy. Since he cannot exist without ministerial rank, he would sell his grandmother é not to mention his party é for one day as Foreign Minister.

Because of this, he talks now as if the defeat of Mitzna were a fait accompli and there was nothing left but to negotiate the terms of surrender (the Foreign Office for Peres).

Three: Do everything possible to dwarf Mitzna.

Amram Mitzna is the rival candidate. There is no other. One may admire him or not, love him or not é if one wants to defeat Sharon, one must concentrate on raising Mitzna’s stature. The election campaign will be first and foremost a personal duel between these two men. If one wants to help Sharon, one has to paint Mitzna as a hapless person, a prisoner of the rightists in his own party. One has to say that even his own party opposes his policy, that his leftist line will prove disastrous for Labor.

Four: Trigger a civil war between the parties of the left.

If a war will break out between the Labor party and Meretz, and between the two and Hadash é that would be wonderful. They will be busy blackening each other and doing the job of the right. Neither of them will have any energy left to fight against Sharon.

The Beilin affair may prove useful for this end. It is being presented as proving the hypocrisy and/or weakness of Mitzna and showing that the party has turned to the right. This is far removed from reality. The fall of Beilin (who did not get enough votes in the Labor primaries) was caused by inter-party rivalries. He has become widely unpopular within the party by threatening to leave if it does not adopt his program. A party that elected Mitzna by an overwhelming majority does not suddenly become hawkish by dropping Beilin. It is by no means clear who of the two is the more “leftist”.

But all of this is not really important. In the final analysis, there is almost no difference between voting for Labor, Meretz, Hadash and the Arab parties. All of them together will constitute a parliamentary “preventive bloc” against the right. A war between them now would be a criminal waste.

Five: Say that “they are all the same” and call for abstention.

That will not affect the rightist voters. They would turn up at the polling stations even during an earthquake. But such a call could affect leftist voters, who are famously fastidious. Any abstention “on principle” will help the right, every blank ballot will be a ballot for Sharon.

Six: Call on the Arab voters to boycott the elections.

The million Israeli Arab citizens are a natural partner of the peace camp. Without them, there can be no effective political left in Israel. He who incites them to stay away from the ballot box does the job of Sharon.

This is so self-evident, that one could suspect some of those waving the flag of boycott of being agents of Sharon or the Security Service (which is the same). The more extreme the nationalist and/or Islamic fervor of the boycott advocates, the greater my suspicions.

The Arab citizens have many excellent reasons for being furious with the Israeli establishment, including the Labor party. But the fury must be channeled into an effort to set up a strong parliamentary force, able to fight for their rights and aspirations. A rage that only helps to reinforce a rightist government is an infantile exercise in self-indulgence.

For a community threatened by transfer, this is an act of self-destruction. Indeed, it is difficult to understand leaders who talk about the danger of a “second Nakba”, and at the time behave as if it’s business as usual.

Well, anyone who wants to help Sharon has a range of methods to choose from.

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