Autocrat dressed up as democrat

Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky has resigned from the Israeli cabinet due to his opposition to withdrawing Jewish settlers from Gaza and areas of the West Bank. “I consider the disengagement plan to be a tragic mistake that exacts a high price and also encourages terror,” Mr Sharansky told Israel Army Radio.

The eccentric politician, who spent years in a Soviet gulag, has reportedly influenced George W. Bush after writing The Case for Democracy, a manifesto explaining the difference between societies of freedom (Israel, the US etc) and societies of fear (the Palestinian Authority, Iran etc.) In a recent interview, Sharansky outlined his philosophy: “I have said for years that it is much more important for us to deal with a democracy which hates you than with a dictator who loves you.”

His theories sound convincing, in theory, but read the fine-print. Sharansky believes that Israel should offer no concessions to the Palestinians until they build an acceptable democracy. In other words, he tells PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, we refuse to negotiate with you until you’ve conducted actions that we, and only we, deem appropriate. Furthermore, he’s been a long-time supporter of stripping rights of Palestinians living in and around East Jerusalem. In other words, his position on these matters allows him to fit in perfectly with any number of Israeli leaders who believe in the superiority of their cause over the Palestinians.

These are classic stalling tactics. How dare a man who claims to believe in democracy restrict the right of an occupied people to resist their oppression? What kind of so-called democrat is happy allowing Israel to continue building settlements in the West Bank while severely restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians? No wonder Sharansky calls Bush a “dissenting” President because “my enthusiasm for Bush is in his return to the line taken by President Reagan.

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