April 7, 2009

So Much for Avigdor Lieberman

It seems clear to most observers inside and outside Israel that Avigdor Lieberman’s promotion to foreign minister is bad news for both Israelis and Arabs. He has only had the job for, what, a week now? But he’s already just about finished. He might even end up in jail.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 7, 2009 11:34 AM
Comments

This is good news for everyone.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 11:39 AM

Like the crazed villagers in Frankenstein, the torch-lit pitchfork and ax-wielding blood-lusting pack prepares to attack the object of its hysterical fear. The terrified Defamers of Israel are eagerly joining the lynch mob.

So how about you? Have YOU been sold the idea that the new Foreign Minister is an evil monster?

Posted by: A Kipper Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 5:54 PM

Kipper: Have YOU been sold the idea that the new Foreign Minister is an evil monster?

Nobody tells me what to think or "sells" opinions to me. Most of us know who and what Avigdor Lieberman is. Most of us also know what he isn't. He isn't "Israel."

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 6:24 PM

We can only hope he really does get indicted.

Posted by: beeaar Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 7:30 PM

I had actually harbored hopes that Lieberman would be a dark horse peacemaker. One needs to look carefully at his positions. His race-baiting demagoguery is shameful, but he is also an interesting pragmatist. He is fervently anti-religious, with all of his pork-eating Russian constituents, and is in favor of civil marriages, non-orthodox conversion, and other reforms that would push back the influence of the ultra-orthodox. He is in favor of dividing Jerusalem, and other territorial concessions. His idea to turn over some of the Arab border towns, like Uhm al Fahm, to the Palestinians, isn't a bad one. Let's face it, Israel does have a demographic problem, and many of these places are hotbeds of anti-Israel sentiment anyway.

Bibi is a much smoother article than Lieberman, but a far greater obstacle to peace. He is the settlers' candidate, he believes in greater Israel, and it would be a real case of the leopard changing his spots to believe that he will table an acceptable agreement. For the life of me, I don't know what Barak is doing in that government. People who are focusing on Lieberman are focusing on the wrong party.

Just because Lieberman hates Arabs doesn't mean he can't make peace with them. People with more acceptable opinions have been trying for the last fifteen years and gotten nowhere. In my opinion, the real obstacle to peace in the region isn't a particular candidate, but the two peoples. Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Neither side knows how to compromise, it goes against their culture. Any eventual peace agreement is going to be hated by both sides. In business negotiations, an optimal outcome is one where both sides feel screwed. Israelis and Palestinians can't yet agree to this feeling. Unfortunately, it's going to take more time to wear down this cultural resistance to compromise.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 9:28 PM

anand, if this is "good news", wouldn't it be even better news if every single person in the Hamas leadership, all of whom harbor murderous racist prejudice against Jews (not just Israelis or "Zionists") vastly greater than what Lieberman allegedly holds towards Arabs, were also thrown in jail? Or is this just medicine for da Jooos? You can add Hizbullah too if you like.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 7, 2009 10:08 PM

"In business negotiations, an optimal outcome is one where both sides feel screwed."

Nonsense, Mark. In the world outside the hatred embedded in Mideast politics, anyone hoping to stay in business negotiates to gain some perceived (key assumption) advantage beyond their current position---maybe at a considerable cost, sure---but while assuming some desirable result will justify the price and the effort. Otherwise, what's the point?

My simplistic criterion for a goal in this case is just peaceful co-existence, which can be arrived at by putting up with whoever you're determined to hate, as long as they leave you alone too. The parties that live this tragedy daily have to get there themselves---or not, and live with that.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at April 8, 2009 1:08 AM

Paul S;

You're right. I should have said "settlement negotiations", like when you're settling a lawsuit or some other dispute. There, I think my statement holds water, and better describes the peace negotiations (for lack of a better term) between Israel and the Palestinians. If any workable compromise is ever reached, it will make a lot of people on both sides very unhappy, and whether one or both sides will ultimately be able to deliver on such a compromise is very much an open question.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at April 9, 2009 4:57 AM

Gary Rosen, I find Lieberman's comments to be very offensive (regardless of what Palestinians may or may not feel.) What is most offensive is his terrible comments about patriotic Israeli citizens who are Palestinians. Who is more Israeli? Lieberman or Israeli Palestinian? Who does Israel belong to more?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 10, 2009 11:06 AM

"Who does Israel belong to more? "

Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation. It 'belongs' more to the Jews because they are the majority. The non-Jewish Israelis have their rights and freedoms guaranteed. What more could you possibly want?

When will you start bitching about the plight of Jews in Muslim Arab countries? You are way overdue for some balanced concern. One might even get the impression you have an irrational approach to Jews who defend themselves in their own homeland from those enemies, both foreign and domestic, who would see them slaughtered (your friends in Hamas and Hizbullah, among others).

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at April 10, 2009 12:17 PM

"What more could you possibly want?"

Oh, let's see. How about equality in municipal budgets? Non-discriminatory hiring practices, non-discriminatory granting of building rights? If we don't want to do it for Israeli Arabs, at least let's do it for Druze and Bedouin, who fight in the IDF. They're getting screwed also. Arabs who own land on the outskirts of their villages aren't allowed to build on it. In despair, they sell it to neighboring Jewish communities, who immediately obtain building rights.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bleeding heart liberal. I'm 100% behind Israel's war against terror, including Operation Cast Lead. But let's not pat ourselves on the back for virtues we don't possess.

And why are you blathering about Jews in Arab countries? There aren't any, they got kicked out sixty years ago. Of course, that was an injustice, but we got over it, these Jews are now comfortably settled in Israel, France, North America and many have become prosperous. This fact is a standing rebuke to the Arab countries who have allowed the Palestinians to remain as miserable refugees.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 12:18 AM

Thanks, anand, for proving what I have long suspected, that you are an antisemitic scumbag. I gave you the chance to condemn Hamas' open call for the extermination of Jews which is their founding principle, and you pointedly refused so you undoubtedly assent to it. Not that I'm surprised, I figured this all along because I could see right through your smarmy, hypocritical rhetoric.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 2:57 AM

"This fact is a standing rebuke to the Arab countries who have allowed the Palestinians to remain as miserable refugees." Duh, that's exactly why people "blather" about Jews in Arab countries.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 3:01 AM

MarkC: "Oh, let's see. How about equality in municipal budgets?"</>

I never claimed or implied Israeli society doesn't have its share of inequalities, nor am I unaware of the issues you mentioned.

I was responding to 'anand' in the context of his incessant attempt to deny the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty. No more, no less. If you have a problem with THAT, well, screw you, too.
==============

"And why are you blathering about Jews in Arab countries? There aren't any, they got kicked out sixty years ago."

Actually, there ARE Jews still living in Muslim Arab countries. You haven't read the recent problems of the small Jewish community in Yemen, clearly. And I really meant to say "Arab & Muslim countries". I have no doubt the 25,000+ Jews in Iran live with anxieties you cannot understand.

It is unfortunate, and more than a little damning, that you unaware of these Jews (and in the process dismiss their harsh realities) while you are so quick to sound like the 'bleeding heart liberal' you claim not to be.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 8:31 AM

I am aware of the problems of the minute Jewish community in Yemen. How many of them are there, ten, fifteen?

Li'l Mamzer and Gary Rosen, I live in Israel, I'm oh so familiar with all of your arguments. Aren't you guys getting just a little bit boring?

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 12:03 PM

Yes, MarkC, there are hardly any Jews left in Arab countries - because these once-thriving communities whose history goes back 3000 years in some cases were severely persecuted and forced to leave. Guess that's a "don't care" for you. You live in Israel (or so you claim) - you ought to know that the majority of Israelis (or descendents) come from Arab countries, not Europe. That is not an insignificant fact given the perpetual rhetoric about "colonization" by Israel, though I'm sure anand will twist it somehow to justify Hamas annihilationism.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 1:56 PM

You're right, it is a "don't care" for me, because it's irrelevant. My wife's parents both came from Morocco, they left in the early fifties
to come to France and then Israel. They weren't really forced to leave, they left out of a combination of Zionism, and a growing feeling of insecurity. Jews from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt had a more traumatic exodus. I have a friend whose family were wealthy Jews in Alexandria and were forced to flee with the clothes on their back and with dried beans in their suitcases to eat on the way.

I don't think any of them spend one second thinking about their lost homes in Egypt or Morocco. Because they've been integrated into the society here, and have careers and families. My father-in-law gets nostalgic about how big the fruit grew in his village in the Atlas Mountains but that's about it. Come to think of it, my grandparents came from Russia to the United States to escape oppression there, and I don't recall any of us pining for our impoverished shtetl. Migration is a fact of life. Sometimes there's coercion and injustice, but then you get on with your life and forget about it (unless you're unfortunate enough to be a Palestinian refugee).

The only reason to keep harping on it is the reason you mentioned yourself - rhetoric.

Posted by: MarkC Author Profile Page at April 11, 2009 10:45 PM

Perhaps I am missing something or not capable of understanding but what exactly is wrong with Lieberman being Foreign Minister?

Which of Lieberman claims are particularly unreasonable and offensive to you?

Please, quote only what Lieberman said and not what you think he said.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at April 12, 2009 9:06 PM

Speaking of Lieberman, just run into this interesting link on ynetnews:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3700685,00.html

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at April 12, 2009 9:24 PM
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