American Proscenium

Goodbye, Greater Israel; Hello . . . What?

My name and title (“global-political and economic-affairs analyst”) appears on a few rolodexes on the desks of the young ladies, a.k.a. “schedulers,” who are in search of pundits—that is, pompous think tankers and retired foreign-policy types who are willing “to do Iraq” or “to do Iran” (in Washington lingo) or some other international crisis.

So it was not surprising that, when Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon “remained seriously dead” (as comedian Chevy Chase used to open his fictional “news” segments on Saturday Night Live to report on Generalissimo Franco’s very, very long death watch), I received hysterical phone calls from panic-stricken schedulers asking whether I would be able to “do Sharon” and to discuss whether the world-as-we-know-it would survive even if he departed to a more peaceful place.  The more composed among the callers wanted to know if “we” would be able to continue moving ahead with the “peace process” in the aftermath of Sharon’s exit.  And they seemed to have taken it for granted that I considered the retired Israeli general to be a “peacemaker” and one of the most important figures in Israeli, not to mention Jewish, history.

Well, my personal view has always been more nuanced.  There are those who have worshiped the Sharon who, during...

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