Column: Sharansky Quits (from May 6)
central policy (“disengagement”) - indeed, sole raison d'etre - has become one to which I am so adamantly opposed” – and following the accusations against Pinchas Wallerstein that he was fomenting rebellion for opposing the “disengagement” plan, I wrote an article here in which I effectively pleaded for Natan Sharansky to step up and use his stature in Washington to oppose and stop the plan.
I followed that column up with two other articles on the same subject. I sent my articles to Minister Sharansky and was thanked for my encouragement and belief in him.
The writing of the articles not only coincided with the forming of the “unity government” and the accusations against Pinchas Wallerstein but they also coincided with much excitement about the release of Sharansky’s book, “The Case for Democracy” -- achieving for Sharansky important status as President Bush embraced the book as a blueprint for the WOT.
At the time, while opposing Sharon’s unilateral plan, Sharansky remained in the government and was relatively quiet. Increasingly, with every passing day, Sharansky became in my view the only hope of those that opposed Sharon’s disastarous and cruel plan.
This is what I wrote back then:
“Now Pinchas Wallerstein is being accused of fomenting rebellion. For now the accusations are in the media only but the calls for the attorney general to investigate have been made and the British Mandate Laws are handy and ready to be used. Wallerstein was brave to take a stand and call for civil disobedience but unfortunately the media and the judicial system -- leftist tools -- immediately accuse him of calling for civil war. Interesting how quickly they use the word "war" when speaking about civil disobedience by Jews when they are so reluctant to call the murdering of Jews by Arabs a war -- preferring to call it a "peace process."
I have to stop with this for now. I have to say something positive and I actually do have something positive to say.
History is waiting for Natan Sharansky, an opponent of "disengagement", to step into the fray and vie for leadership of the Jewish State. Pinchas Wallerstein's civil disobedience, once it is labeled by the Israeli and world press as rebellion and made to look like a call to "civil war" may put him in jail, and many others with him, with the ease of the word of a few men in Jerusalem, but it will not pose any serious challenge to Sharon's plan. Their voices will be silenced -- except for the small right wing Jewish media and with some luck, an occasional word of support from American conservative media. What follows the silence will be a demonization of the "settlers" that will so isolate them that all the dangers and madness of the plan itself will become of secondary issue to securing the "rule of law" and the "unity government" and "democracy."
But they can't jail Sharansky. They just can't! And they certainly couldn't silence him if they did. Sharansky is not only respected in the White House he is an important asset for Bush in pushing forward his Wilsonian project of democratizing the Arab world. Sharansky in jail and opposing Sharon would be heard all over the world and Sharon could do nothing about it. Sharansky involved in civil disobedience could not be silenced. He is the leader that needs to step forward now and tell the world the truth about the dangers and antidemocratic injustice of "disengagement." Nobody else can do this and nobody can stop Sharansky from doing it. It is his hour. It's time for him to step up and use his political capital.”
Thank heaven that Natan Sharansky has stepped up. He has brought the case against “disengagement” before the whole world within a day – something that no one else here has been able to achieve since the plan was hatched – and next month he is going to Washington and will likely meet with President Bush, V.P. Cheney, or Secretary of State Rice. There he will make his case against disengagement like no one else possibly can.
Until then there is much for Natan Sharansky to do as he returns to his role as dissident – the role that his mentor, Andrei Sakharov, taught him so well and the role that brought him to Reagan’s White House where he became a hero and source of inspiration.
One of the themes of Natan Sharansky that he stresses in his book is the need that dissedents have for encouragement. Now that he has returned to that role I imagine that your encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will gladly forward your letters to Mr. Sharansky’s offices.
Also, solidarity trips to Gush Katif with Americans for a Safe Israel and Dov Hikind are leaving at the end of May and early June. All the information is available at AFSI. The phone number is 212 828 2424 or contact them at email@example.com.