Sharon’s apparent willingness to compromise in an interview with Ha’aretz should be interpreted as the first step in his campaign to ward off American pressure. MacAskill forgets that the Republican administration of the first President Bush was highly critical of the Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir and placed great pressure on Israel to attend the Madrid conference at the end of 1991. Sharon resigned from the government because of Shamir’s “moderation”. The Bush government also threatened to withold credits and credit guarantees from Israel which were necessary to assist in the immigration of Russian Jews.
MacAskill also doesn’t understand the political direction of US Jews – of whom 70% have for decades voted for the Democrats regardless of US policy towards Israel. The geriatric Jewish voters of Florida may be old, but they are not stupid. Most of them are long-time leftists from New York who can run rings around the current president and his minions.
Dr Colin Shindler
SOAS, University of London