The paucity of senior foreign representation at the funeral of Arik Sharon pretty much said it all. Both the man and the Israeli lebensraum cause with which he was associated for most of his life are on the international shit list. Statesmen don’t want to be associated with either.
Even the typically euphemistic eulogies could barely conceal the darkness that lay at the heart of the man and his actions. Words like “complicated,” “complex” and “contentious” only served to highlight the absence of any true and honest account of the personal and national criminality in which Sharon indulged.
Arik Sharon was a warlord; vain, unscrupulous and inherently violent, as warlords are wont to be. He often bashed his (famously bandaged) head against the constraints of decency and justice that an increasingly enfeebled state attempted to impose on him, but he was a lot more successful than most of us would like to admit at molding the society in his own image. Continue reading
2013 was a year in which we saw far too much of Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Miley Cyrus and Barack Obama, the latter looking appropriately shocked at how inept his administration actually is. Visually, therefore, it wasn’t a very good year.
On the other hand, we got to see a lot of Toronto’s bizarre mayor Rob Ford, whose admission that he smoked crack while “in one of my drunken stupors” has got to be one of the most honest political statements of all time. And, of course, there was also the Mandela sign language interpreter who mistook Obama for an angel or a prawn and embarrassed Zuma only slightly less than Zuma embarrassed himself. So, it was not a year without humor.
Locally, we got to see Kerry descending from a plane so often we began to set our clocks by it. We also got to read about Netanyahu refusing to get on a plane – to Mandela’s funeral – which is not something most of us expected to see from any Israeli politician in our lifetimes, never mind a devotee with a special flying bed. Unfortunately, the killjoy judges on Israel’s Supreme Court denied us the sight of Avigdor Lieberman being dragged off in chains, which would have made it a stellar year no matter what else happened. Continue reading