Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Strange Case of the Missing Lieberman

One version of the Lieberman proposal; the Arabs get all the pink dots, while the IDF patrols the spaces in between. Viable Opposition.

From the National Review, in an article that does not once mention the name of Avigdor Lieberman:
Obama’s Childish Attempt to Undermine Israel’s New Government
The administration’s dislike of Benjamin Netanyahu trumps its stated Israel policy.
By Josh Gelernter — May 28, 2016
Well, that's one interpretation. I for one have a hard time seeing how the addition of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister and Sofa Landver as immigration and absorption minister will make the coalition any more likely to back a two-state solution, since the Likud still has a large majority in the cabinet and claims it supports a two-state solution too (Netanyahu's position is so vague that there are literally public debates in Israel over what he actually means, but the majority of his party's members reject the concept).

Also there's a bit of a problem with the type of two-state solution envisaged by Lieberman's party, which would involve an "exchange of populations" between the Arab-dominated terrorities, which contain no Jews, and the Jewish-dominated territories, which contain plenty of Arabs; in other words an ethnic cleansing in the Israeli state expelling some unspecified number of its Arab citizens, including from all of Jerusalem, of which the Palestinian state would receive zero:
"The end result [of a peace settlement with the Palestinians] must not be a state and a half for Palestinians and half a state for the Jews… It would be unjustifiable to create a Palestinian state that would exclude Jews while Israel became a bi-national state with an Arab minority of more than 20 percent of its citizens."
Such a plan would involve the expulsion from citizenship (with some monetary compensation) of some 90% of the Arab citizens of Israel, in Lieberman's own estimate, as presented to the Tel Aviv Magazine of May 28 2004:
The Arabs of the Triangle, Umm el Fahm and 90% of the Arabs of Israel will have to end up in the Arab entity which will be established there, and not within the state [of Israel]. But also some of the Jews of Judea Samaria and Gaza will have to return into the State of Israel. If that principle is accepted, I am willing to accept evacuation, including evacuation of my own house in Nokdim.
And settling the West Bank Arabs in a landscape of 25 tiny, noncontiguous reservations. And would certainly lead to very serious problems in any case. Lieberman is an extremely problematic figure in his own right, with his reputation for saying things like, on the subject of Israeli Arabs, “Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.” Or when the late Ariel Sharon proposed releasing 350 Palestinan prisoners, "It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea."

That's the reason for the US government conduct to which Gelernter objects, "Obama's childish attempt to undermine Israel's new government":
Through a State Department spokesman, the administration said the new coalition deal “raises legitimate questions” about the Israeli government’s commitment to a two-state solution, adding that, “ultimately, we’re going to judge this government based on its actions.”
Note that the State Department has not threatened to do anything. But the concept of judging Israel based on its actions throws Gelernter into a panic.

That's not the thing that astonished me about this piece, though. What astonished me is the way it goes through ten paragraphs on the presence of the new party in the Israeli governing coalition without once mentioning Avigdor Lieberman's name, or the Russian immigrants of whom the party basically consists (Lieberman himself is from Moldova, that homeland of the Yastreblyanskys, which is one reason this topic makes me so crazy; Lieberman himself is widely regarded as a Russian agent, to the point where Shin Bet denied him access to some confidential files when he was Minister for Strategic Affairs).

Lieberman's name appears not one single time. The party is merely sketched out as some more or less "leftist" entity that the Likud has invited for no particular reason, or to increase its majority, without any explanation of what it is, and its ethnic-cleansing approach to peace described as
perfectly logical and accommodating — and in line with the Palestinian position since Israel’s war of independence? Not to mention to the left of most of Israel’s government?
(You're letting the cat out of the bag, there, Josh, Netanyahu keeps saying his government favors a two-state solution.) No, it's not. It is regarded by everyone not in the Israeli right wing or its Republican aficionados in the US as a dreadful, racist, and unacceptable idea.

Gideon Levy of Haaretz writes,
For the first time in Israeli history, fascism is a clear and possibly present danger. True, Menachem Begin’s election as prime minister evoked similar fears, as did the appointment of Ariel Sharon as defense minister. But those were other times, when Israeli society still had immune mechanisms, a system of checks and balances. They were eliminated long ago. Now the state is in the hands of someone who could destroy it. (Via Mondoweiss.)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak also employs the word "fascism" and says
"Extremist elements have taken over the State of Israel. The outgoing defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, was the victim of a purge," Barak said. "In the initial months, Liberman will give off the impression that he is moderate. Sooner or later, however, we will see the price we have to pay."
Gelernter says, of his "logical and accommodating" and "in line with the Palestinian position" fantasy (Palestinians regard the plan with "contempt and rejection"),
Surely President Obama knows this. Surely it’s exactly what he wants. So what possible motive could his administration have for responding to something he’s hoped for with so obviously misleading a press statement? Other than sticking it to Obama’s least favorite world leader, Mr. Netanyahu?
Surely Gelernter knows that Obama is no more anti-Israel than Gideon Levy or Ehud Barak, and much less likely than they are to take issue with an Israeli government.

What he's doing here is preying on the ignorance of the National Review's elderly, Fox-watching, Anglo readers, not to get them to support the current Israeli government, which they will do without asking any annoying questions, but to reinforce their hatred of President Obama. Really carefully withholding from them the tools they'd need to find out what he's artfully talking about, and presumably in the effort to persuade them to write more checks to the National Review. It's really disgusting.

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