Monday, October 30, 2006

Avigdor Lieberman: Haaretz and Raimondo

David Seaton's News Links
Israel, which is joined to the United States at the hip, is close to political meltdown. The president is accused of being a serial rapist, the prime minister is under investigation for fraud, they've just lost a war and now they have included one of the most dangerous fascists in the world, since the death of Slobodan Milosevic, in their government as minister in charge of "strategic threats"... (war with Iran). If you think this won't flavor American political discourse in the future then you live under a rock. DS

Abstract: (Let's hear it for the Haiders - Eldar- Haaretz) The prevalent comparison between Avigdor Lieberman and Joerg Haider does an injustice to the Austrian nationalist whose party joined the government in the winter of 2000. Haider is far from being a righteous man, but even in his most fascist days, he never called on Austria to rid itself of citizens who'd been living in the country for generations. Also, Haider never suggested standing up legislators representing these citizens in front of a firing squad. Natan Meron, at the time Israel's ambassador to Austria, noted that once the leader of the Freedom Party joined politics, he never uttered a single anti-Semitic statement. Meron emphasized that the leader of the Freedom Party "does not threaten the Jews."(...) There is also no comparison between the response of the Austrian people to the inclusion of the Freedom Party in the coalition, and the tranquility with which the majority of the Israeli public has received Lieberman's appointment as deputy prime minister in charge of the most sensitive strategic issue. It is important to note that Haider himself stayed out of the government. In Israel, "peacemakers" like Amir Peretz, Ephraim Sneh, Eitan Cabel and Yitzhak Herzog went out of their way in their efforts to convince members of their party's central committee to allow them to bring into their home an extreme nationalist. Shimon Peres, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, warned Austria at the time that the inclusion of Haider in the coalition will "ostracize it from the family of nations."(...) then-prime minister Ehud Barak declared that Haider was persona non grata in Israel. Jewish organizations the world over competed over the intensity of their criticism of the Austrian government.(...) What will we say if European Union countries announce that the deputy prime minister is an unwanted personality in Europe? The silence of the leadership of mainstream Jewry in the world, in view of the legitimization of a person such as Lieberman, undermines the moral high ground they hold in the struggle against Israel-haters throughout the world. If a Jewish politician who aspires to transfer an Arab minority across the border can sit in an Israeli cabinet, why should an anti-Semite not sit in an Austrian government? Let's hear it for the Haiders. (A Jewish Hitler? - Justin Raimondo) With the entry of Avigdor Lieberman into the government as deputy minister for "strategic threats" – essentially in charge of preparing for war with Iran – Israel makes a qualitative step toward a regime that increasingly resembles, in all its essentials, a rogue state, and, I might add, potentially a very dangerous one.(...) the line that separated Lieberman, the Jewish equivalent of David Duke, from the Israeli "mainstream" has been increasingly hard to discern for quite some time. As Arthur Neslen put it in the Guardian recently: "The most worrying thing about Lieberman is not that his ideas exist on a plane outside Israel's political continuum but that, in many ways, they are close to its dead center. The proposal to transfer 'the triangle,' an area around Um al-Fahm where 250,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel currently live, was first brought into the press spotlight at the end of 2000 at Israel's most prestigious annual policy-making forum, the Herzliya conference. "The then prime minister Ariel Sharon publicly floated the idea again in February 2004. Opposition from Washington to a de facto violation of international law reportedly took the plan out of the headlines, but it remained in the comment pages. "In December 2005, Uzi Arad, a former Mossad director, government foreign policy adviser and current head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy, which organizes the Herzliya conference, resurrected the idea in an article for [The]New Republic." I have covered the growing influence of Israeli extremism for years, and worried over the rise of what seems, at first, a hopeless oxymoron: Jewish fascism. That an ideology that has proved so harmful – indeed, near fatal – to the Jewish people should gain a foothold in the Jewish state seems too bizarre even for a post-9/11 reality that increasingly resembles Bizarro World. Yet here we are, confronted with the specter of Avigdor Lieberman, the would-be Hitler, currently the second most popular politician in the running for prime minister, right behind Benjamin Netanyahu.

1 comment:

kelly said...

refreshing to hear criticism of Israel - living in Germany, I watch as the German government gets walked on by Israeli officials and policy, the Germans can't and won't complain. Yes it's a sensitive topic, but when Israel pushes the envelope to this extent some one must declare a boundary.