In his column today, Greg Sheridan explains that Israel’s new foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is, contrary to what you might have heard, really ‘a democrat and, by broader Middle East standards, an extremely mild politician’. Really? Compare the analysis by Neve Gordon from the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Lieberman has, Gordon points out, ‘been found guilty of striking a 12-year-old boy [and is] under investigation for money-laundering, fraud and breach of trust; in addition, he was a bona fide member of an outlawed racist party and currently leads a political party that espouses fascist ideas. On top of all this, he does not even reside in the country he has been chosen to represent.’
On the last point, Gordon explains:
Lieberman does not live in Israel according to its internationally recognised borders, but rather in an illegal settlement called Nokdim. Legally speaking, this would be like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton residing in Mexico and UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband living on the Canary Islands.
And yet, despite these egregious transgressions, newly-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no qualms about appointing Lieberman to represent Israel in the international arena. Netanyahu’s lust for power has led him to choose a man who actually poses a serious threat to Israel. Both Lieberman’s message and style are not only violent, but have clear proto-fascist elements; and, as Israeli commentators have already intimated, he is extremely dangerous.
Yes, quite the mild democrat.