July 06, 2005

Why the Dog did not Bark

Inspector Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night time"
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

(From "The Adventure of Silver Blaze" by Arthur Conan Doyle)


In their new book, Boomerang, two Israeli reporters have suggested that the whole disengagement idea was hatched up to get the heat off Ariel Sharon and his sons over the Greek Island affair. As we all know, he was within an ace of being charged by the police, an event that would have forced him to stand down as prime minister. All very convenient.

But if this story is true, and Sharon put his own job and liberty ahead of the security interests of his people, why have the media not pounced on this story? And if it is not true, it’s still a great conspiracy theory that most media hacks would surely have exploited to the full.

But no. None of this has happened. The overwhelmingly left wing press and state TV in Israel never miss an opportunity to tear into politicians for the merest whiff of impropriety. For these press hounds there is no greater blood lust than for a Likud minister. But ever since the disengagement plan was announced, the media have been as silent as silent as Sherlock Holmes’ fabled dog in the nighttime. Holmes concluded that since the dog did not bark, the guilty party must have been his master.

This story is no different.

Since the word disengagement rolled off his lips, Sharon has had the easiest ride any prime minister has had from the press since the founding of the state. Some say it is because the leftists detest the religious settlers more than they despise Sharon or the Likud. But I think it’s more serious than that.

In Sharon the leftists cannot believe their good fortune. After seeing Labour flattened by Likud’s election victory on a tough anti-terror platform uncompromising on territorial concession, they have been corrupted by Sharon’s total transformation into a darling of the Left. He releases prisoners faster than Betselem can find lawyers for them. He shuts down checkpoints as if bomb belts went out of fashion. More importantly he appoints Oslo’s poster-boy as his Vice Prime Minister. Having Peres a heartbeat away from the premiership seems to be better protection for Sharon than any Kevlar vest. So long as Sharon behaves like Peres, the media will leave him alone. All he wants in return is their cooperation in stifling opposition to his disengagement plan. This also means stifling the warnings of top military and security chiefs about the dangers of appeasement and the creation of terror bases ever closer to our towns.

In this process, yet another pillar of Israel’s free and democratic society falls asunder. Democracy means MK’s voting according to their conscience and the will of their constituency electors. It is not about accepting bribes to keep the government in power. Democracy also means having a government and an effective opposition. Currently the opposition is in power.

A free society means having a press that vigorously pursues and probes without fear or favour. In this, the predominantly left wing media have miserably failed and have shown themselves to be more corrupt than any of the ministers they have previously targeted. History will harshly judge their silence in this dark night for our nation.
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