Natan Sharansky

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Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky was born in Ukraine and graduated with a degree in mathematics from the Physical Technical Institute in Moscow. His early association with the human rights movement was an English interpreter for Andrei Sakharov. He later split and emerged as a dissident and spokesman for the Soviet Jewry movement. He was caught spying and imprisoned, but was released in a spy-exchange and released in 1986.

Upon emigrating to Israel, Sharansky entered politics. He is a far right-wing politician and held various ministerial posts in Likud governments (under Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon). Most recently he served as Minister without Portfolio, responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs. In May 2005 he resigned in protest aganist Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza.

Alternative Backround

Redress, a discussion website maintained by leftist/anti-Zionist Jews, has an alternative history of Sharansky:

Anatoly Sharansky (we shall call him by his birth name, Anatoly, rather than Natan, the name given to him by the Israeli ambassador to West Germany upon his release from prison) was born in Ukraine and educated in Russia as a mathematician. In 1973 he applied for an exit visa to Israel, but, like all Soviet citizens who had worked in the military-industrial complex, he was refused on security grounds. He then became involved in an Israeli-sponsored worldwide campaign to put pressure on the Kremlin to give special treatment to Soviet Jewish citizens by allowing them to emigrate to Israel, irrespective of whether or not they had worked in the defence sector. In 1977 he was arrested on suspicion of spying for the US, and in the following year he was found guilty as charged and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. He was released in 1986 in a US-Soviet spy exchange.
Prior to his emigration to Israel, Sharansky liked to portray himself as a symbol of the struggle for human rights, and since then he has made much of his status as a former "victim of totalitarian oppression". However, his belief in human rights, nurtured at the height of the Cold War, appears to have been heavily tainted with the culture of the Soviet-American power struggle, which justified the cynical use of practically anything as ammunition in the superpower rivalry for global dominance.
Unlike most of us, Sharansky apparently does not believe that human rights are universal and indivisible, that is, applicable to all human beings everywhere and irrespective of their race, colour or creed. Not only does he oppose any Israeli concessions that may eventually lead to the realization of the Palestinians' right to self determination, but he advocates policies that could only mean the dispossession of more Palestinians living in Israel, and the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. No wonder that he was one of the very few people to have amicable relations with the former ultra right-wing prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.
Sharansky began his political career in Israel by becoming head of the Zionist Forum, an organization dedicated to lobbying on behalf of Soviet immigrants. However, not content with being a mere "welfare worker", in 1995 he founded the Yisra'el Ba'aliyah party, with the immediate aim of bringing in another million Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union and of encouraging a further million Jewish citizens of the United States and the European countries to immigrate to Israel. For him, the value of peace with the Palestinians is measured solely by the extent to which it would work towards achieving the overriding goal of encouraging Jewish citizens of other states to immigrate to Israel. Thus, addressing the founding congress of Yisra'el Ba'aliyah in June 1995, he said: "Without the hope for peace, you cannot convince people to come here." Source

Human rights…

Although Sharanky's past as a "human rights" activist is often extolled, his current denial of the human rights of others is seldom mentioned. He favors the total expulsion of Palestinians and thus doesn't respect their human rights.

"We have chosen to profile Anatoly Sharansky, the Israeli minister of social and diaspora affairs and leader of Yisra'el Ba'aliyah, the Russian immigrants' party in Israel, because he encapsulates the paradox of the Jewish inhabitants of Israel, a paradox that is the hallmark of Zionists throughout the world. That is, how can a people that has suffered so much over the ages, from pogroms in Europe to Nazi genocide, emulate their historical oppressors and be so lacking in empathy with their victims, the Palestinian Arabs?"
editors of Redress (a British anti-Zionist Jewish group)
Rather, when the time comes to write his obituary Anatoly Sharansky will most probably be remembered as Israel's great Russian dissembler, with his years as a so-called "human rights campaigner" not warranting even a footnote.
editors of Redress (a British anti-Zionist Jewish group)

Rewriting of history

Zionist groups often object to the contents of the history books used to teach Palestinian children. Sharansky has often raised this canard.

Indeed, the impact of the Soviet system on Sharansky's mind appears to have gone much deeper. Thus, like the Soviet habit of remoulding the history books to suit themselves, our human rights hero insists that any Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories should be made contingent on, among other things, the Palestinians rewriting their school books "to remove all language that denies the legitimacy of Israel and Zionism". In other words, Palestinian children should be taught that their uprooting from the land of their forefathers by foreigners from the former Soviet Union, Europe and the United States was perfectly legitimate..
editors of Redress (a British anti-Zionist Jewish group)

Part of President Bush's political DNA

President George W. Bush recently revealed that he had read a book – that was the good news. The bad news is that he stated that the views portrayed by Sharansky in his book, Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, had become "part of my presidential DNA" [1]. This may be troublesome because:

In Israel and across the Middle East, Sharansky is widely regarded as a right-wing Zionist and hawk, who positions himself to the right of Ariel Sharon.


Sharansky's philosophy of freedom and fear, good and evil, is a projection of his own political activism both in Israel and as a 'refusenik' and political prisoner in the Soviet Union. According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the 1970s Sharansky engaged 'in underground Zionist activities' until his 1977 arrest by Soviet authorities on charges of treason and espionage.
—Tom Barry, "A Meeting of Minds and Policy", InterPress Service, February 7, 2005.

Uri Avnery, the veteran Israeli journalist, wrote of Sharansky's influence on Bush that "The idea that the teachings of this particular political philosopher are the guiding star of the mightiest leader in the world, the commander of the biggest military machine in history, is rather frightening". [Avnery, op. cit.]

The Shirley & Banister Public Affairs Republican PR firm did promotion for Sharansky's Case for Democracy book, according to Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter (Vol. 38, No. 18, May 4, 2005). O'Dwyer's credited Shirley & Banister with securing a Rush Limbaugh interview and a meeting with "President Bush, who along with Condoleezza Rice, has cited the work in speeches and interviews."

Supporting the extremists

"…Also, the settlements Sharon originally encouraged many years ago and Sharansky has more recently promoted are mostly populated by vicious fanatics who believe in the Greater Israel scheme and are prepared to annihilate Palestinians and other Arabs to bring it about.
comment by Alfred Lilienthal.

Campaign to free Pollard

In February 2004, Sharansky visited Jonathan Pollard, the imprisoned Israeli spy, in a US federal prison. Sharansky lent his reputation as a former imprisoned Soviet "dissident" to the campaign by Zionist groups in the US to release Pollard. [2]

Political history

  • Helsinki Monitoring Group — founded and led Jewish movement in this group. It engaged in Zionist activities in the former Soviet Union.
  • Yisrael Ba-Aliya —Sharansky is the founder and leader of the Russian Immigrants Party.
  • Minister of Industry and Trade under Netanyahu (June 1996-1999).
  • Minister of Interior from July 1999 until resigned in July 2000.
  • Minister of Housing and Construction, and Deputy PM under Sharon (Mar. 2001-2003).
  • Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs (2003-present).



SourceWatch Resources

External links

  • Editorial Board & Staff, Journal of Democracy, accessed September 24, 2007.
  • Experts, Cyber Dissidents, accessed February 9, 2011.