Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Avigdor Lieberman Needs to Be Slapped Down

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 11th August, 2009

Avigdor_LiebermanThe Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has reportedly reprimanded his country’s Consul General in Boston, Nadav Tamir, for sending an internal memo highlighting how Israel’s refusal to halt settlement growth in the Occupied West Bank is harming US-Israel relations and causing strategic damage to Israel. This is yet one more indication of how totally unsuited Lieberman is for his job. Nadav Tamir should be congratulated for telling the truth. What good are diplomatic memos if they don’t? Binyamin Netanyahu was always taking a risk by giving Lieberman the plum Foreign Ministry, as the price for taking him and his ghastly racist Yisrael Beiteinu party into the governing coalition, but that was a risk Netanyahu thought worth taking in order to hold power. Besides, as Israel has been allowed by successive US administrations to get away with murder in its policies towards the Palestinians for over 60 years, the government in Tel Aviv probably assumes it can carry on with impunity building new homes for Jewish settlers on land in the Palestinian territories in violation of international law, as well as demolishing Arab homes in East Jerusalem as part of the ongoing programme to totally judaize the Holy City.

It is time for Washington and its allies — including Britain and the European Union — to take firm action to show that this intransigence by Israel and the arrogance on the part of Netanyahu’s government are completely unacceptable. The EU-Israel association agreement should be suspended with immediate effect and the Americans should stop underwriting Israel’s budget until there is not only a halt to new settlement building but also the beginning of the forced withdrawal of settlers from the West Bank, starting with Hebron (where a small group of radical settlers is terrorizing the Palestinian inhabitants, while being protected by the Israeli army). As for Lieberman himself, it is up to the Israeli courts to decide whether the corruption allegations against him have any foundation. My objection to him is purely political. He is totally unfit to be the Foreign Minister of a country that claims to be a progressive democracy. And he and his ilk seem determined to lead Israel blindly down the road to perdition.

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