Friday, February 6, 2009

The horrific rise of Avigdor Lieberman

The British Independent today prints a frightening, sobering piece by Donald Macintyre on Avigdor Lieberman, whose blatantly racist anti-Arab party, Yisrael Beiteinu, evidently is poised to finish third in the upcoming Israeli elections (ahead of Labor, the traditionally "peace" party - though it's hard to make that claim these days, with Ehud Barak as its leader). And consider the possible consequences if the outcome of those elections place this man in a position (as a "kingmaker," according to Macintyre) to determine Israeli policy and actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

There is a potential up-side: that his racist views would appall so many Americans, including those in Congress, that President Obama just might be compelled to take a harder stance in US-Israel relations. I have to believe that it would be difficult to justify to the American public the US's continued massive military support to a supposed "ally and friend" one of whose leaders was advocating ethnic cleansing or even genocide of Palestinian Arabs.

Avigdor Lieberman: In his own words

"If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at 10 in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah."

"World War Two ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."

"We'll move the border. We won't have to pay for their unemployment, or health, or education. We won't have to subsidise them any longer."

"When there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important."

"A real victory can be achieved only by breaking the will and motivation of Hamas to fight us, as was done to the Japanese in the last days of World War Two."


Gert said...

At least one American who gets it.

Yisrael Beitenu and Avigdor Lieberman are racist Fascists. American Republicans, even Conservative ones, would shun such people if they tried to get elected in the US.

As Gideon Levy put it here: (do read the whole thing, if you haven't already)

"Lieberman calls for a fascist "test of loyalty" as a condition for granting citizenship to Israel's Arabs, while Kahane [considered a terrorist] called for the unconditional annulment of their citizenship. One racist (Lieberman) calls for their transfer to the Palestinian state, the other (Kahane) called for their deportation.

If someone like Lieberman were to join a government in Europe, Israel would sever ties with it. If anyone had predicted in Kahane's day that a pledge to turn his successor into an important minister would one day be considered an electoral asset here, they would have been told they were having a nightmare."

And yes, American revulsion of a Fascist party like Yisrael Beitenu is a possible upside. But I'm not holding my breath: American Israel-firsters will strongly try and downplay Lieberman's fascism.

Jack Mazafi said...

About a decade ago, the Palestinians were polarizing to their conservative right as was Lebanon with their tolerance of Hezbullah. At the same time, Israel was embracing the left, post Oslo. Now things are dramatically different, peace is becoming more and more elusive. The bottom line is that the Palestinians are unwilling to compromise or to accept a Jewish majority in Israel - which by the way, is Israels sole reason for existence and the reason it was created after WW II. So can you blame the Israeli public after so much disappointment?


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