Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Lieberman’

Time to Boycott Israel

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 11th August, 2014

BDSFor years I have resisted calls to boycott Israel — not least in the field of academic exchanges — on the grounds that constructive engagement had a better chance of delivering an equitable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as fitting in better with my Quaker beliefs against violence and confrontation. However, the time has come to  accept that engagement has not worked. The Israeli government has continued to allow the expansion of illegal settlements on land stolen from the Palestinians. Some Fascist Israeli occupies, who prefer to describe themselves by the euphemism “settlers”, continue to torment their Palestinian neighbours, uproot their olive trees and are complicit in the establishment of what can only be described as an apartheid state. And then there is the latest pitiless onslaught on Gaza, in which nearly 2000 Palestinians have been killed, including several hundred children. I deplore and condemn the rockets fired into Israel by Hamas and other militant groups. But what the IDF has been doing over the past month is not just disproportionate as a response, it is criminal. I look forward to the day when Bibi Netanyahu and his colleagues are arraigned before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Israel has repeatedly violated both the Geneva and Hague Conventions in international law, but now it deserves to face charges of war crimes. Moreover, remember Israel is a democracy, not a dictatorship, which is why the Israeli public who voted for Netanyahu, Lieberman and worse need to face the music too. Boycott Israel now, on all fronts, as happened successfully with racist apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Do not go on holiday to Israel, sunning on the beaches of Tel Aviv or Eilat, while ignoring the injustices being carried out against Palestinians out of your sight. Do not buy Israeli produce of any kind, not just from the illegal settlements. Make the message loud and clear: you can no longer act with impunity, Israel, and until you make a just settlement with the Palestinians, withdraw from the West Bank and lift the siege on Gaza, you shall be an international outcast, a pariah state, and deservedly so.

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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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What Next for Israel?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 10th February, 2009

Votes are being counted from Israel’s general election, with exit polls suggesting that the centrist Kadima party led by Tzipi Livni may just have edged ahead of Likud and Binyamin Netanyahu, though only by a whisker — and falling well short of a majority in the Knesset, which means that there could be weeks of coalition building by whichever of the two is invited by President Shimon Peres to try to put together a government. What does seem clear is that the centre-left Labour Party of Ehud Barak has almost certainly fallen to fourth place behind the brash new Yisrael Beiteinu party and its demagogic leader, Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman — a Moldovan immigrant who has rallied considerable support among fellow immigrants from the former Soviet Union — has been championing the idea of an Israeli loyalty oath, which would in practice require the country’s Arab population to swear alleigance to Israel as a Jewish state or else forfeit their citizenship — a singularly explosive issue at this time. Lieberman has been referred to as a ‘kingmaker’ by several media commentators, suggesting that a new coalition would have to include his party. But if Israel has any sense, it will avoid that option like the plague, or else it will certainly suffer the consequences, both at home and abroad.

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