Saturday, April 25, 2009

Avigdor Lieberman's Interview to the Austrian Kleine Zeitung

BY AMOS

Over the weekend Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave a long interview to the Austrian Kleine Zeitung, based in Graz, Styria. I cannot figure out how this paper, literally "The Little Newspaper," managed to secure the interview; it is a regional daily that appears mainly in the Austria provinces, with a circulation of 300,000. Most Austrians would go to the Viennese Presse (right-center) or Standard (left) for news of this sort. The interview, while occasionally vague and evasive, is surprisingly reasonable. Conclusion: Lieberman sounds much better in German than in Hebrew. The interview was probably conducted in Russian and then translated by the interviewer, Christian Wehrschütz, a correspondent with extensive experience in the Balkans as well as in Ukraine and Russia.

Some of the highlights follow with my quick and dirty translation.

On the peace process:
Wir hatten Regierungen, die aus politischen Tauben bestanden. Seit der Vereinbarung von Oslo, 1983 [SIC, should be 1993], haben ebendiese Regierungen sehr große Anstrengungen unternommen, eine dauerhafte Regelung für den Frieden zu finden. Wir haben die Hälfte von Judäa und Samaria sowie auch den Gaza-Streifen aufgegeben. Wir haben Tausende Juden umgesiedelt und Milliarden Schekel in die Palästinenser-Gebiete investiert. Trotzdem ist der Friedensprozess blockiert. Daher helfen uns die bisher gegebenen, vereinfachenden Antworten nicht weiter. Gewöhnlich waren das zwei: Besatzung oder jüdische Siedlungen. Es wäre allerdings ein Missverständnis, zu glauben, dass Besatzung und Siedlungen die Ursache für den Konflikt zwischen Israel und den Palästinensern sind. Denn wenn man weiter zurückgeht, vor 1967, gab es auch keinen Frieden im Nahen Osten, sondern nur Blutvergießen und Terrorismus. Und zwischen 1948 und 1967 hatten die Palästinenser sehr wohl einen Chance einen eigenen Staat zu bilden. Sie wurde nur nicht genützt.
We had governments that consisted of political doves. Since the Oslo agreement, these governments especially undertook great efforts to arrive at a lasting peace settlement. We gave up half of Judea and Samaria as well as the Gaza Strip. We evacuated thousands of Jews and invested tens of millions of shekels in the Palestinian territories. Despite this, the peace process is blocked. The simplifying answers offered until now do not help us move further. Usually these were two: occupation or Jewish settlements. However, it would be a mistake to believe that occupation and settlements are the origins for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For if you go back further, before 1967, there also was no peace in the Middle East, only bloodshed and terrorism. And between 1948 and 1967 the Palestinians certainly had an opportunity to form their own state. It was simply not exploited.

On his role in the coalition:
Wir wollen sehr aktiv die Initiative ergreifen. Wir haben viele Ideen. Dabei ist heute ist meine persönliche Position nicht so wichtig. Ich bin ein Spieler in einem großen Team, und versuche meine Koalitionspartner zu überzeugen. Doch ich bin überzeugt, dass es dieser Regierung schließlich gelingen wird, eine gemeinsame Plattform zu schaffen und vorwärts zu kommen. Dabei wollen wir die Vision einbringen, eine stabile in sich schlüssige, dauerhafte Lösung ohne Blutvergießen zu schaffen.
We want to grasp the initative very actively. We have many ideas. My personal position is not so important in all this. I am a player on a large team and I try to persuade my coalition partners. But I am convinced that this government will ultimately succeed in creating a common position and to move forward. To this effect, we want to bring the vision that will create a final, lasting solution without bloodshed.

The pitch for an "economic peace process":
Der politische Prozess ist nicht vorrangig der Schlüssel für eine dauerhafte Friedenslösung. [...] Das wichtigste für die Palästinenser ist der Aufbau der Wirtschaft, denn man kann sich vorstellen, was in Österreich geschehen würde, wenn die Arbeitslosenrate 40 Prozent betragen und der Lohn nur 150 Euro pro Monat, wie das bei den Palästinensern der Fall ist.
The political process is not the key to a permanent peace solution [...] The most important for the Palestinians is the development of the economy, because you can imagine what would happen in Austria if the unemployment rate were 40% and the salaries were 150 euros a month, as is the case for the Palestinians.

How to achieve this - Lieberman was vague:
Außerdem darf die Rolle der USA, der EU und von Japan nicht nur sein, Geld an die palästinensische Verwaltung zu überweisen. Die müssen vielmehr in konkrete Projekte investieren um die Arbeitsplätze für die Palästinenser zu schaffen.
The role of the US, EU, and Japan should not be only to transfer money to the Palestinian Authority. They ought, rather, to invest in concrete projects to create jobs for the Palestinians.

Reasons for Hamas's Success:
Denn die Hamas hat die vergangenen Wahlen nicht wegen ihrer extremen Ideologie gewonnen; vielmehr stand ihr eine sehr korrupte Palästinenser-Verwaltung gegenüber, die weder effektiv noch effizient war. Im Gegensatz dazu hat die Hamas sehr viele soziale Aktivitäten gesetzt. Sie hat Schulen errichtet und eine medizinische Versorgung angeboten. Das waren die Gründe für den Wahlsieg der Hamas.
Hamas won the past elections not because of its extremist ideology but because it opposed a very corrupt Palestinian administration (Palestinian Authority?), which was neither effective nor efficient. In contrast, Hamas founded many social programs. It established schools and offered health care. Those were the reasons for Hamas's victory in the elections.

No negotiations with Hamas:
Wie soll die israelische Regierung mit jemandem verhandeln, der jeden Tag sagt, ich will Israel zerstören oder alle Juden töten? Die Hamas übt weiter Terror aus, schmuggelt nach wie vor Waffen und bereitet Anschläge vor.
Why should the Israeli government negotiate with someone who says, every day, 'I want to destroy Israel" or kill all Jews? Hamas continues to engage in terrorism, smuggles weapons as before, and prepares attacks.

On Syria:
Wir müssen die Realitäten sehen. Bis heute beheimatet Syrien die Hauptquartiere der Terror-Organisationen Hamas und Djihad. Syrien unterstützt die Hisbollah und ihren Waffenschmuggel in den Südlibanon. Syrien unterstützt auch das Atomprogramm des Iran und ich sehe bis zum heutigen Tag nur eine Festigung der Beziehungen zwischen dem Iran und Syrien. Daher kann ich in Syrien keinen wirklichen Partner für irgendeine Vereinbarung sehen. Bevor wir verhandeln können, muss zuerst die Unterstützung für den Terrorismus eingestellt werden.
We have to see the reality. Until today, Syria hosts the headquarters of the terrorist organizations Hamas and Jihad. Syria supports Hizbullaha and its weapons smuggling to southern Lebanon. Syria also supports the Iranian nuclear program and I am only seeing a strengthening of the relations between Iran and Syria. This is why I cannot see Syria as a real partner for any kind of settlement. Before we can negotiate, the support for terrorism must end.

On "land for peace":
Bis heute hat das Konzept "Land für Frieden" keine wirklichen Ergebnisse gebracht. Was war das Ergebnis aller Rückzüge? Doch nur: Hisbollah und Raketen.
Until today, the concept "land for peace" has brought no real results. What was the consequence of all the withdrawals [retreats]? Only Hizbullah and rockets.

Lieberman evades question about "transfer" and loses himself, going off in too many directions at once:
Kleine Zeitung: Was soll stattdessen geschehen? Bei der Zwei-Staaten-Lösung kritisieren Sie, dass zwar die Palästinenser einen Staat ohne Juden bekommen sollen, Israel aber 20 Prozent Araber hat. Daher reden sie auch enormen Umsiedlungen das Wort; doch was ist mit den Arabern in Israel, sprich Palästinensern, die nicht gehen wollen? 
LIEBERMAN: Das ist allerdings nicht nur ein Problem, das Israel hat. Ähnliches gibt es auf der übrigen Welt auch. In Bosnien-Herzegowina zum Beispiel oder in Belgien zwischen Flamen und Walonen. Auch im Kaukasus gab es den Konflikt zwischen Russland und Georgien. Was ich damit sagen will, es gibt nicht nur eine Ursache für das Problem sondern viele. Man darf nicht nur einen Punkt herausgreifen und dann hoffen, das ganze Problem zu lösen; man muss gleichzeitig in viele Richtungen gehen
.
Kleine Zeitung: What should happen instead? You criticize the two-state solution because it gives the Palestinians a state without Jews while Israel's population would still be 20% Arab. This is why you also talk about enormous transfers [resettlements]; but what about the Arabs in Israel, or Palestinians, who do not want to move?

Lieberman: But that is not only a problem faced by Israel. There are similar things in the rest of the world as well. In Bosnia-Hercegovina for example, or in Belgium between the Flemish and Walloons [French-speakers]. In the Caucasus too there was the conflict between Russia and Georgia. What I want to say here is that there is not only one cause of the problem but many. One must not take out only one point and then hope to solve the entire problem; one has to go in many directions at once.

Interviewer asks for clarification:
Kleine Zeitung: Was heißt das konkret, etwa für die jüdischen Siedlungen? Sie selbst leben in einer jüdischen Siedlung in einem Palästinenser-Gebiet. Wären Sie bereit, Ihr Haus aufzugeben? 
LIEBERMAN: Weniger Spannungen, weniger Konflikte, dass wollen alle Völker. Doch es darf keine Illusion geben; kurzfristig, schnell ist das nicht möglich, Hokuspokus gibt es nicht. Doch ich in überzeugt, dass diese Koalition, mehr als jede andere zuvor die Chance hat, sich in die richtige Richtung zu bewegen.
Kleine Zeitung: What does this mean concretely, for example for the Jewish settlements? You yourself live in a Jewish settlement in a Palestinian area. Would you be prepared to give up your home?

Lieberman: Less tensions, less conflicts; all peoples want this. But one must not have illusions; in the short-term, quickly, this is not possible. There is no abacadabra. But I am convinced that this coalition, more than any one before, has the chance to move in the right direction.

On his reputation abroad:
Ich bin über mein Image nicht besorgt; Image ist nur ein Produkt der Massenmedien. Wir haben weit ernstere Probleme als mein Image.
I am not concerned about my image; image is only a product of the mass media. We have far more serious problems than my image.

Ahmadinejad and Iran:

Es ist nicht akzeptabel, dass ein Staatspräsident eines UNO-Mitglieds täglich zur Zerstörung Israels aufruft. Die Kooperation des Iran mit Nordkorea, mit Hugo Chavez und mit Syrien ist die wirkliche Achse des Bösen. Doch das ist nicht nur unser Problem; das ist das Problem der gesamten Region und der gesamten internationalen Gemeinschaft. Auch die Vertreter der arabischen Welt haben mit uns in jüngster Zeit vor allem über den Iran, und nicht über die Palästinenser gesprochen. Denn die Araber verstehen, dass ihre Existenz nicht durch Israel, sondern durch den Iran bedroht wird. 

It is unacceptable that the president of a UN-member country daily calls for the destruction of Israel. The cooperation of Iran with North Korean, Hugo Chavez and Syria is the true axis of evil. But that is not only our problem; that is a problem for the entire region and the whole international community. The representatives of the Arab world have talked to us, in recent times, about Iran, not about the Palestinians. Because the Arabs understand that their existence is not threatened by Israel but by Iran.

How to deal with Iranian nuclear program:

Was das iranische Atomprogramm betrifft, muss klar sein, dass, sollte der Iran Atommacht werden, es in der Region zu einem schrecklichen nuklearen Rüstungswettlauf kommen würde. Der beste Weg, das Atomprogramm zu stoppen, sind wirklich harte, sehr harte Sanktionen. Die UNO-Resolutionen sind nicht genug; daher müssen der Sicherheitsrat und die EU viel wirksamere und härtere Sanktionen verhängen. Das hat bei Libyen funktioniert. Der Iran muss daher isoliert werden. Nur das kann Ergebnisse bringen. 

Regarding the Iranian nuclear program, it has to be clear that should Iran become a nuclear power, it would lead to a terrible nuclear arms race in the region. The best way to stop the nuclear program is through very tough, really tough sanctions. The UN resolutions are not enough; the Security Council and the EU must declare much more effective and harsher sanctions. That worked with Libya. Iran has to be isolated. Only that can bring results.

Military option?
Wir sprechen über keinen Militärschlag, Israel kann ein Problem, das ein Problem der ganzen Welt ist, nicht militärisch lösen. Ich schlage vielmehr vor, dass die USA als größte Weltmacht die Verantwortung übernimmt, die Iran-Frage zu lösen." 

We're not talking about any military strike. Israel cannot solve a problem, which is the problem of the whole world, militarily. I suggest rather that the US, as the world's superpower, ought to take responsibility for solving the Iran-question.

Anticipate deterioration in US-Israeli relations?

Nein. Wir haben traditionell wirklich sehr tiefe Beziehungen mit den USA. Sie beruhen nicht nur auf wechselseitigen Interessen, sondern wir teilen auch dieselben Werte. 

No. We traditionally have a very deep relationship with the US. It is not based on our respective interests, rather, we share the same values.

European role?
Allerdings müsste Europa härter gegenüber dem Terrorismus hier auftreten. Hamas und Hisbollah müssen unakzeptable Organisationen sein. Doch ich bin nicht sicher, dass alle europäischen Länder diese meine Meinung teilen.

Europe has to take a harder line against terrorism. Hamas and Hizbullah must be unacceptable organizations. But I am not sure if all the European countries share my opinion. 

Europe's Muslim population:
Das Grundproblem ist auch hier eine Frage der demokratischen Werte. Es ist sehr wichtig, die Werte der freien Welt zu bewahren und an alle Bürger weiterzugeben, unabhängig davon, ob sie Juden, Christen oder Moslems sind, oder ein anderes oder gar kein Bekenntnis haben. Im Falle der Moslems muss Europa auch von den muslimischen Ländern fordern, dass sie zur Demokratie und zu den Menschenrechten finden. Wie sieht es beispielsweise mit Menschenrechten in Saudi-Arabien aus, wo Frauen noch immer kein Wahlrecht haben? Erst wenn Selbstverständlichkeiten wie Demokratie und Menschenrechte in allen moslemischen Staaten zur Realität werden, werden sich auch die Moslems anderswo langsam ändern.

The basic problem is one of democratic values. it is very important to guard the values of the free world and to pass them on to all citizens, regardless of whether they are Jews, Christians or Muslim or even of no faith at all. In the case of the Muslims, Europe has to demand from Muslim countries that they find themselves toward democracy and human rights. How does it look with human rights in Saudi Arabia, for example, where women still cannot vote? Only when things we take for granted, such as democracy and human rights become a reality in all Muslim states will Muslims elsewhere gradually change.

On Israel's Jewish population:

Der Schlüssel für das Zusammenleben heißt Toleranz. Wir müssen in Israel toleranter im Umgang miteinander werden. Nach Israel kamen Menschen aus Asien, Afrika, Europa, der ehemaligen Sowjetunion und Südamerika. Sie alle haben unterschiedliche Vorstellungen, ein unterschiedliches Temperament und eine verschiedene Mentalität. Daher ist es unmöglich, die Vorstellung nur einer Gruppe durchzusetzen. Also können etwa die Vorstellungen der Religiösen nicht säkularen Bürgern verordnet werden und umgekehrt. Wir versuchen daher, den richtigen Zugang zu diesen Problemen zu finden. Das betrifft auch die Zivilehe und andere jüdische Werte. Denn Israel muss ein Platz für alle Juden sein. 

The key to coexistence is tolerance. We have to become more tolerant in Israel in our interactions with each other. People from Asia, Africa, Europe, the former Soviet Union and South America all came to Israel They have different preconceptions, temperaments, and mentalities. Therefore it is impossible to implement the conceptions of one group. The ideas of the religious cannot be mandated for secular citizens and vice versa. We are therefore trying to find the right approach to these problems. This also concerns civil union and other Jewish values [sic]. Because Israel has to be a place for all Jews.


18 comments:

Criticker said...

Hello, this is Criticker speaking:

I thought Lieberman’s answer to the question of how to achieve economic development for the Palestinians was very clear and not vague; rather than contributing money to the Palestinian authorities, who might use it corruptly, US, EU and Japan should control the projects for which the money is used.
Lieberman was vague and evasive only on one issue- his controversial position of population transfer. Overall, he seemed eerily optimistic about the new government underplaying his own role in it, maybe out of spite.
It was also funny how he put all the responsibility of the Iran nuclear program on US, saying “well, let the superpower deal with it.”

Noah K said...

How about all those historical analogies? Somehow, I don't think that line of argument is a winner: other populations of competing national vision have solved things peacefully and/or with bloodshed. Okay?

Amos said...

Noah,

Do you mean that paragraph where he talks about the Flemish and the Walloons? I really didn't understand that part. Was he trying to say something about the undesirability of ethnically heterogeneous societies and states?

Maybe you are talking about something else.

Noah K said...

Dude, I'm totally talking about that part about the Walloons...sadly, it remind me of when Benny Morris said, "Look at Srebrenica, the Serbs -- or was it the Croatians? -- look what they did." But yeah, I think Lieberman was saying that "mixed" populations are undesirable to a lot of people, so he's not such a monster. I think we've talked about this, but apparently Ben-Gurion was obsessed with the population exchanges between the Turks and Greeks in the 20s, at end of Balkan Wars. In that case, what he was after was perhaps an historical example to follow in practice, more than one to use to justify future action. But maybe not.

Amos said...

I think it's legitimate to put ethnic conflict in context - to compare 1948 with other expulsions, for example. If this is what is what Benny Morris was doing, I have no problem with it. It seems to me quite different from saying "everyone agrees that having large minority populations is bad and we are justified in wanting to get rid of them."

Who has written about Ben Gurion's interest in those population exchanges? Is that also in Benny Morris's book? I'm curious how he talked about it. I think there were others in the region who thought about these kinds of "exchanges."

I find that there is a lot of excessive moralizing and feigned indignation whenever people talk about the Turkish-Greek "exchanges." Of course, they were horrors for the people involved and led to huge death tolls. The same is true for the "Partition" of the subcontinent, with its movements of Muslims and Hindus into the new states of Pakistan and India. But in the case of the Turks and Greeks, it doesn't make sense to malign the "exchanges" since Turks and Greeks at the time (at least the vast majority of them) were not willing to tolerate "others" on their soil because it undermined (in the international sphere) their claims to territory. If there had been no exchanges, we would simply have seen protracted wars, civil wars, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies.

The moralists will insist that "if only people had gone against the terrifying logic of integral nationalism, we could have all lived together in multi-ethnic miniature Habsburg empires." This kind of thinking might make them feel good about themselves, but it was simply not an option at the time. Sure, there were a few people who might have advocated such a solution, but they were in no position to impose their views on the wheels of history rolling over them.

Nobody said...

Amos said...
I think it's legitimate to put ethnic conflict in context - to compare 1948 with other expulsions, for example. If this is what is what Benny Morris was doing, I have no problem with it. It seems to me quite different from saying "everyone agrees that having large minority populations is bad and we are justified in wanting to get rid of them."

Regardless of what Morris had in mind, I am absolutely not ashamed to say this. And I am saying: Having large minority populations can be a very risky business. In Israel's case I would distinguish between our minorities and say that Muslim Arabs constitute for us a very problematic minority with a very different reading of recent history and incompatible national aspirations. Any drastic shift in demographic balance between us and them runs a risk of destroying the status quo and setting the country on a path to disaster. Am I really breaking a new ground by pointing out to this very obvious fact?

Amos said...

This seems incontrovertible to me.

Nobody said...

By the way, I don't see Lieberman as a kind of Jewish nationalist. His anti Arab stance is exaggerated. Many of his proposals are actually targeting the ultra orthodox just as much as the Arabs. Much of his rage is against the ultras. Together with his position on civil marriages and conversions, I would define him more like an Israeli nationalist in a very broad sense of the word. He is by far more inclusive in this sense than some mainstream secular parties. He does not look like a person who is preoccupied with people's matrilineal descent and other Jewish antiquities. The media was so concentrated on his anti Arab diatribes that it has completely missed this point. In many ways he is another version of what used to be Shinui and such parties. Apart from some aspects of his rethoric he is a "Russian Israeli" version of Tommy Lapid.

Nobody said...

In fact, this is exactly what his place is. Ever since Shinui had flushed itself down the tube, somebody had to go into and fill that vacuum. And this is exactly what he is and what he represents. Because meanwhile droves of Russian immigrants made it to the ranks of the middle class and joined that section of Israeli society, his party is now packed with Russians. But at its core it's the same militantly secular middle class oriented party with no politically correct blah blah blah. Because of Lieberman's Russian background his connection with the reality is a bit mmmm unstable, and he is prone to make outlandish statements and be famous for his other antics, but the theory about some fascist party having suddenly popped up on the scene is very exaggerated.

Amos said...

Although your reading of the Lieberman has some truth, I think there are significant differences between Yisrael Beitenu and Shinui.

Lieberman has an important youth base that Shinui did not have. That base, rather then the more solidly middle class electorate which supported the party, is motivated primarily by the militant message. It is also what might give Yisrael Beitenu more staying power than Shinu, which disappeared into thin air with the formation of Kadima. Shinui was very much a "liberal" party, in the classical sense of the word. It accepted the norms of the Western-oriented, liberal-democratic state, which you seem to dismiss as "politically correct blah blah." Lieberman, on the other hand, seems to look more to post-Soviet authoritarianism for inspiration.

Tommy Lapid shared the prejudices of the Israeli middle class toward Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox. But as far as I remember, he did not deliberately mobilize fears about security threats (from within and without). He did seek to capitalize on certain other cultural and economic insecurities of the Israeli middle class. Namely the fear that Israel was descending into a morass of corruption and a mediocre level of economic and cultural development, not up to par with that of the advanced European countries.

I do not mean to belittle such fears, by the way. i don't think they are mere "constructions." There are very serious threats to Israel's security and economic well-being. However, I don't think much is gained by mobilizing ordinary citizens through fear; this only creates panic and irrational outbursts of rhetorical and sometimes physical violence. it is much better to be patient and to marshal the existing forces of the state to better address threats that exist. Ordinary people need to be inspired to give to their country and to be productive citizens; they don't need to be encouraged to hate their neighbors.

Nobody said...

Lets put it this way. Because Lieberman is Russian and because of his unrestrained pronouncements he attracts some other sections of the electorate too. But his electorate and that of Shinui are overlapping to a very significant degree.

Second, there are important personal differences between Lapid and Lieberman. Lieberman, by all accounts, is first of all a very able administrator. Some personal accounts, often from leftist people, were published in the media after Lieberman's electoral success. And they seemed to be very similar in many respects. All acknowledged that Lieberman is an efficient and pragmatic administrator and that he is by far not that confrontational in real life than he appears to public.

You can see how easily he can work with the same ultras. In fact, as I understand it's him who engineered that compromise about child subsidies and it's perfect as far as I am concerned. Lieberman is a kind of a shady, mafiosi like figure, used to quiet behind the scenes doing things. When he goes public he is a disaster, but if you, say, read his articles, and you can find many on Israel Beytenu site, you will be immediately struck by how mellow they are.

Lieberman is not stoking any fears about corruption and mediocre economic and other performance. It is his ambition as an administrator. Lapid was more media savvy and much less of a reformer. His extreme impracticality is what probably finished off Shinui.

Nobody said...

Lieberman by far is not alone in this. I am sure Bibi is thinking along these lines. I heard Gilad Erdan saying very similar things. That with a proper doze of reforms, Israel can achieve first world standards in terms of economic and social development. That if they manage to get the ultras under control, together with an improved economy, this will make possible to attract a significant Jewish immigration from Western countries with all economic and demographic benefits that follow from this. This is what these people think. This is no stoking fears.

Amos said...

But his electorate and that of Shinui are overlapping to a very significant degree.Yes, I agreed with you on this already.

Lieberman, by all accounts, is first of all a very able administrator. I didn't know about Lieberman's technocratic abilities. It changes my picture of him somewhat. I'll keep an eye on this.

but if you, say, read his articles, and you can find many on Israel Beytenu site, you will be immediately struck by how mellow they are. His interview was also "mellow" at times, but I don't view this as a very good indicator of anything. Still, maybe you can link to some specific articles I should look at, and perhaps they will persuade.

Lieberman is not stoking any fears about corruption and mediocre economic and other performance.No, he's stoking fears on a different front (I referred to two different kinds of fears in my comment). My point, to emphasize this again, was not that these fears are completely unfounded. Rather, I think nothing is encouraged by encouraging such fears among ordinary people.

Amos said...

Nobody,

I didn't see your follow-up comment when I posted my latest one. You misunderstood me. I think it is eminently rational to "get the ultras under control," as you put it. I think it is crucial for Israel to develop the right policies that will provide incentives to boost productivity among the ultra-Orthodox. And yes, without maintaining first world living standards, Israel will not be able to attract Jewish immigrants from Western Europe and America.

By "stoking fears" I mean rhetoric which demonizes certain groups (ultras, Arabs, whatever) in order to achieve these ends. I.e., to see these groups as "threats" to the economic well-being of the country. There is no point in doing this, because no one gains anything from large numbers of ordinary people being scared or angry.

Amos said...

By the way, Criticker above pointed out Lieberman's statement about the Iranian nuclear program, in which he said that it was America's responsibility to deal with it. This seems like a good message to project.

Nobody said...

Well. He is what he is. This is his style. I am by far no fan of these things. People should be smarter than that. He should have never been made FM.

Nobody said...

BTW

I have no doubt that Lapid had very similar views on Israeli Arabs and ultras. And he could have been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the idea of territorial swaps. He would have probably considered the idea of loyalty oaths far fetched and impractical. But otherwise the difference between the two is mostly a difference in putting it into words.

Charlie H. Ettinson said...

I'm curious to know what you think (if you've seen) Lieberman's interview with the JPost. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710807376&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull. In my view, he is quite consistent with his messaging and is really advancing the argument of the insignificance of settlements to terror, seeing as how terror existed before the settlements. It's the first time I can recall an Israeli leader making this argument.
I blogged about it at www.buckeach.blogspot.com