FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Silliest Show in Town

Shimon Peres is celebrating. Shimon Peres? The whole world is celebrating with him!

What has he got to celebrate?

Well, he has reached the age of 80. A respectable age. I can’t begrudge him. (After all, I myself am now 80 years old, and I just had a celebration, too.)

When one gets to be 80 years old, it is customary to invite some friends round. So Peres invited a few pals, too. Such as Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, Frederick de Klerk and Joschka Fischer, the presidents of Slovenia, Germany and Malta, not to mention the Ivory Coast, several billionaires, an assortment of ministers from various countries, some actors and singers and the holocaustist Claude Lantzman. Diplomacy, entertainment and the holocaust, a tasteful mixture.

A whole luxury hotel has been booked for the 400 exalted guests, 1200 policeman will be mobilized, streets in two cities will be closed. Excellent. Something like the triumph of a victorious Roman Imperator coming home from the wars.

And that is the weird part.

What has he got to celebrate, after all?

He is the chairman of the Labor Party. The Labor Party lies in ruins. It has ceased to exist as a functioning party. Its leaders haunt the corridors like ghosts. Its local branches are in a shambles. It has no program. It has no plan. Nobody knows what it wants. Nobody knows what it exists for. If, indeed, it does exist.

True, Peres does not bear the responsibility for this collapse alone. Its main architect was Ehud Barak, the champion of disasters, who spread the historic lie that we have no partner for peace. With this he opened the way for Ariel Sharon’s rise to power. But Shimon Peres joined Sharon’s government, served him loyally, disseminated around the world the myth that Sharon is a man of peace, paved his way in Washington and lent a willing hand to all his atrocities–the ‘targeted killings”, the wholesale demolition of homes, the enlargement of the settlements at a frantic pace.

Now the Labor Party has reached such a miserable state that Sharon is not even interested in having it as a junior partner in his government. What does he need it for? He has got Tommy Lapid. There are few sights more pitiful than a worn-out whore whom nobody wants anymore.

Since Peres was appointed party chairman by default–with no other credible candidate standing – it has the atmosphere of a graveyard. No whiff of fresh (or indeed any) air reaches it. Nothing happens. From time to time some television channel devotes a few minutes to a party caucus, out of pity or schadenfreude.

Shimon Peres has no time to deal with the Party, because he is busy with the party. That is a full-time job with overtime.

It is also a disaster. The disappearance of the Labor Party has left a black hole in the political system. No democracy can function without an efficient and combative opposition. When the government is headed by a person like Ariel Sharon, who is leading Israel towards a predictable catastrophe, the absence of an opposition is a national crime.

Peres does not think so. “What do we need an opposition for?” he demanded recently in one of his innumerable interviews in the media. And indeed, what for? After all, Peres does not hide his longing for a seat in the government, any government, even (or especially) a government under Ariel Sharon.

And why not? What is the great difference between Sharon and Peres, apart from Sharon’s charisma and Peres’ record of failures? Is Peres against the assassination of Palestinian leaders? No. Does he oppose the “removal” of Yasser Arafat? In one of his interviews, he spoke against it feebly, but he is not mobilizing his party against the approaching disaster. Demolition of homes? Uprooting of trees? A thunderous silence, at best.

In his long career, Peres has been everything. He has been an extreme hawk and a cooing dove. He is the father of Israel’s nuclear bomb and (after intense lobbying) a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. One of the main initiators of the 1956 war, in the company of two foul colonialist regimes (France and Britain, at the time), and a partner to the Oslo agreement. The father of the West Bank settlements and the creator of the Good Fence on the Lebanese border. The advocate of the Lebanon invasion and, just a few days later, the main speaker at the Peace Now demonstration against it.

He has supported everything. At one time he declared that Israel is not a Middle Eastern but a “Mediterranean” country. For years has advocated the “Jordanian Option” that ignored the existence of the Palestinian people. Then he shook the hand of Arafat and invented the New Middle East. And through all these years he has never, never won an election.

What has he got to celebrate?

Shimon Peres bears a major part of the responsibility for the woeful state that Israel is now in, for the continuation of conflict with the Palestinians, for destroying the Israeli peace camp, for strengthening the Likud’s hold on power, for paving the way for Ariel Sharon, who is quite capable of bringing about the destruction of Israel.

Even in the declining years of the Roman empire, they did not celebrate a triumph for a defeated and humiliated general. Only in Israel. Because, in Israel, nothing succeeds like failure.

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. One of his essays is also included in Cockburn and St. Clair’s forthcoming book: The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at: avnery@counterpunch.org.

 

More articles by:

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
Jill Richardson
Weapons of the Weak
Peter Certo
Washington vs. The Squad
Peter Bolton
Trump’s Own Background Reveals the True Motivation Behind Racist Tweets: Pure White Supremacy
Colin Todhunter
From Mad Cow Disease to Agrochemicals: Time to Put Public Need Ahead of Private Greed
Nozomi Hayase
In Crisis of Democracy, We All Must Become Julian Assange
Wim Laven
The Immoral Silence to the Destructive Xenophobia of “Just Leave”
Cecily Myart-Cruz
McDonald’s: Stop Exploiting Our Schools
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Veggie Gardens Won’t Feed us in a Real Crisis
CounterPunch News Service
A Homeless Rebellion – Mission Statement/Press Release
Louis Proyect
Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes
David Yearsley
Big in the Bungalow of Believers
Ellen Taylor
The Northern Spotted Owls’ Tree-Sit
July 18, 2019
Timothy M. Gill
Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela
W. T. Whitney
Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail