If you want to know what is sad about Israeli politics go no further than today’s Globe profile on Avigdor Lieberamn, the Kingmaker in the election tomorrow.
Here is this oafish Russian immigrant, the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, a non-religious Jew who campaigns on a blatantly racist platform.
Described by Patrick Martin as a poor orator who “speaks in a monotone, with in a thick Russian accent despite having been in this country for 30 years. But the words have seldom been heard in Israel; certainly not coming from someone with a shot at a major role in government. “
The great Israeli historian Tom Segev, interviewed on the CBC by Peter Armstrong last night made the same point. Segev said that this buffoon’s distasteful remarks dared not be repeated in polite company in times past. There has always been an underbelly of anti-Arab racism in Israel. This is no secret. Read Yoram Binur’s classic My Enemy, My Self for confirmation of this known fact. Liebermann is much like the holocaust denier Williamson, causing much damage to the German pope, Ratzinger. Decent people cringe or should at the bluster of a man who is himself an immigrant to Israel who wants to expel the original inhabitants, the Palestinians!
As far as Liebermann is concerned the Palestinians can go to hell—or Cyprus!
“Cyprus used to be in the condition that we are in. Greeks and Turks lived together, and there was friction between them, that included bloodshed and terrorism. In 1974, they put 100 per cent of the Turks on the northern side of the island, and 100 per cent of the Greeks on the southern side. There is no peace agreement to this day. But there is stability, security and prosperity. That is our ambition.”
Whew.Talk about gall. add to this a loyalty oath for Arab citizens.
Here’s how Haaretz quoted one of his high school supporters:
“Sergei Leibliyanich, a senior, draws a connection between the preparation
for military service in school and student support for the right: “It gives
us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can
stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to
the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s
thinking about the Arabs. Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] doesn’t want to go as
Yeah, let’s stick it the Arabs! whoopee for the great democracy in the Middle East.
But Liebermann even pisses off the Orthodox.
Rabbi Ovadia Yusef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, denounced the secular party of Liebermann Yisrael Beiteinu: “God forbid that anyone should vote for the party whose platform is to establish stores that sell pork, to establish civil marriage, to recruit yeshiva students to the army.” “God forbid that any man of Israel vote for them. That is forbidden, completely forbidden. … Anyone who does such a thing will be punished by God.”
Crazy? Sure. an symptomatic od the present situation in Israel.