Natan Sharansky
In a conference mainly focused on the “new anti-Semitism” in Canada

June 22, 2002, Beaver Creek (Colorado). As every year, Gerald Ford and Dick Cheney chaired the World Forum [1]. Surrounded by a prestigious audience, gathered by the American Enterprise Institute and its pseudopodia such as the Project for the New American Century, the ex refuznik [former Russian citizen, particularly Jew, who the authorities did not allow to emigrate. Translator’s note] Natan Sharansky, Vice Premier of Israel, modestly presented the “Sharansky Peace Plan” [2].

Once the audience got excited with his story in the Soviet prisons, he explained the failure of the Oslo Agreements: it was Yasser Arafat who refused to apply them because a dictator always needs an enemy to keep the power. The previous transformation of the Palestinian society into a democracy was necessary for peace. Consequently, Arafat had to be deposed, a new government controlled by the United States, Egypt and Jordan had to be established, and, after a long process of education, democracy and peace would prevail.

It was not difficult to identify the classical though hardly new reformed discourse of neocolonialism, which justified occupation based on the need of establishing tutelage over childlike populations. The speaker replaced the worn-out concept of “civilizing mission” with “democratization” at the time he assumed Bernard Lewis’ racist rhetoric on the Arab societies’ ontological incapacity to control their own destiny [3].

The audience, which was very satisfied, was quite careful not to recall it was not the Palestinians who murdered Yitzhak Rabin (a) and the fact that Yasser Arafat was democratically elected in 1996. Nobody pointed out either that the forced transformation of the Palestinian society began a long time ago [4].

Excited by these new ideas, Paul Wolfowitz and his old friend Nathan Sharansky decided to have a private conversation. While they walked together in this beautiful place where everybody could see them, accompanied by their many bodyguards and advisers, their conspiracy was shown.

Two days later, on June 24, 2002, President George W. Bush said in a press conference at the White House Rose Garden that it was time for Arafat to withdraw himself and the Palestinian elect new leaders who were not implicated in terrorism.

Three weeks later, on July 12, 2002, the White House published a communiqué in which Iranian leaders were accused of fighting freedom and human rights and were urged to withdraw themselves.

Hence, the President of a permanent member State at the United Nations Security Council urged, thus violating the Charter of the United Nations signed in San Francisco, to overthrow the president of the Palestinian Authority and the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, all democratically elected and recognized by the United Nations.

However, despite their uneasiness, most commentators saw nothing in these statements but a clumsy way of saying things. Few understood what had just happened: the United States had adopted a colonialist position the Europeans had left half a century ago; Natan Sharansky had become George W. Bush’s guru, an influence the American president would only make public in 2005 [5].

Before being known as Natan Sharansky, the new ideologist made the front page of newspapers under the name of Anatoly Sharansky, a Russian citizen born on January 20, 1948 in Ukraine. Sharansky, whose father was a journalist, had studied Physics and Mathematics.

In 1973 he wanted to immigrate to Israel but he was not authorized to do so because by that time people who worked in the armaments industry were not allowed to emigrate. Consequently, he participated in the campaign directed from the United States by Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson to force the USSR to allow its Jews to immigrate to Israel. It was then that he established contacts with Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Abram Shulsky and Paul Wolfowitz, the senator’s assistants and collaborators.

In 1977, he was arrested, convicted of espionage in favor of the United States and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. But 9 years later, he was released thanks to a spies’ exchange. Then, he made his Aliyah; in Israel he fabricated his persecuted-by- the-“Evil Empire”-Jew image and began to call himself the “Prisoner of Zion.”

In 1988, he founded the Zionist Forum aimed at strengthening the Israeli population turning to the Soviet Jews and helping them to fit in. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan gave him the Liberty Medal. His association developed progressively and in 1995 it became an extreme right-wing political party, the Yisrael B’aliyah, which would merge with Likud.

In addition, along with his friend Douglas Feith and some others, he founded an association to prevent the restitution of the illegally occupied East Jerusalem: One Jerusalem. With this slogan, he managed to make 100 000 Israeli sign a petition. He openly favored the deportation of Palestinians too.

He joined the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) as a parliamentarian and in 1996 he was appointed minister of Commerce and Industry of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Successively, he was named Ehud Barak’s minister of Interior and minister for Jerusalem and the Diaspora in Ariel Sharon’s government.

In September 2001, the UN held a World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) in Durban (South Africa). Many delegations reintroduced a resolution passed in 1975 which described Zionism as racism. Israel and the United States sabotaged the conference and prevented the adoption of a final resolution. This polemic was brutally pushed into the background due to the attacks in Manhattan.

Natan Sharansky developed then a parallel line between anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. After this proposal, the Israeli government asked Rabbi Michael Melchior, Vice Minister of Foreign Relations, to establish a public relations office aimed at spreading this idea in the western media.

Directed by Nobel Prize Elie Wiesel, Hungarian journalist Matyas Vince; the former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Per Ahlmark, and the future minister of Justice of Canada, Irwin Cotler became supporters of this idea and hid its Israeli state character. Discreet though efficient offices were opened in several capitals.

At the mercy of the diplomatic tensions Israel had with certain western states, this “commission to combat anti-Semitism” exerted pressure on them through campaigns denouncing their alleged anti-Semitism. Quickly, they focused on France and Belgium.

On January 30, 2005, the government of Ariel Sharon announced the “commission to combat anti-Semitism” would be a ministerial institution directly led by Natan Sharansky [6].

“The case for democracy: the power of freedom to overcome tyranny and terror”

In September 2004, with the assistance of Ron Dermer, Sharansky published The Case for Democracy: the Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. He proposed states be divided into two categories according to their results in the “Town Square Test”: if anyone could go to the main square of a capital and express his anti-establishment criteria with no fear at all, then this country was a free nation; if not, it was a terror-based country.

The first countries were democracies; the second ones, tyrannies. Then, Sharansky strongly presented several axioms: every man sought freedom; democracies were pacific, tyrannies were the ones that declared war; tyrants invented enemies to spread fear in the population and thus justify authoritarianism.

It was somehow simplistic but useful to justify the Israeli occupation of Palestine as well as the American occupation of Iraq. In addition, it was all-purpose because anything could be said; for instance, invading a state to “democratize it” showed anyone could be a pacific democracy; or perhaps that since every man sought freedom, there was no country we could not have the right to invade to “democratize it”; and also that peoples which feared our policy were manipulated by their tyrant rulers, etc.

In November, Natan Sharansky was George W. Bush’s guest at the White House. The President, who had begun to read Sharansky’s work and allegedly read until page 221, spoke about it with passion.

On January 12, 2005, the Washington Times published an interview with the President of the United States who stated: “If you want to have an idea of what I am going to do on foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky’s book The Case for Democracy. It’s a great work.”

On January 18, Condoleezza Rice, in a Senate hearing aimed at confirming her appointment as Secretary of State, said the mission of America was to spread freedom and democracy all over the world. On January 20, the president gave his second term inaugural address. The world astonishingly heard George W. Bush stating the time to forcedly democratize recalcitrance had arrived. The Washington Post revealed the Israeli minister collaborated in the writing of the speech [7].

On February 23, 2005, in Germany, the day before a meeting with Vladimir V. Putin in Bratislava, when questioned about this influence, the American president confirmed it in details and straightly specified his “democratization” project included Russia too.

On February 28, Natan Sharansky began a tour throughout Europe in which eight great universities were included. No presentation was scheduled in Paris; the one in Berlin was cancelled for they feared demonstrations might be provoked. In the “Town Square Test,” France and Berlin have just become losers. Undoubtedly, they should be “democratized” by the American soldiers.

[1“L’Institut américain de l’entreprise à la Maison-Blanche,” Voltaire, June 21, 2004

[2Democracy for Peace, by Natan Sharansky, AEI World Forum, June 20, 2002

[3“La Guerre des civilisations,” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, June 4, 200

[4“Faire la paix avec les États, faire la guerre contre les peuples,” by Youssef el-Aschkar, Voltaire, June 19, 2003

[5However, July 15, 2002 Newsweek was the first to talk about this influence though not fairly assessed. See “Sharansky’s Quiet Role”

[6“Sharon appelle à la création d’un corps chargé de l’antisémitisme,” Jerusalem Post, French edition, January 31, 2005

[7“Bush Speech Not a Sign of Policy Shift, Officials Says,” The Washington Post, January 22, 2005