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Lieberman, the Minister for Delegitimisation

February 13, 2010 20:00

Ari Shavit wrote the following in Haaretz this weekend. He is absolutely correct. Before we get our nickers in a twist over Jihad Jenny or hot under the collar about a few anti-Israel lectures here and there, we need to worry about the real damage done to Israel by Avigdor Lieberman and his racist Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

But there's a problem. The minister heading the Foreign Ministry today is exacerbating Israel's distress over legitimacy instead of alleviating it. This minister cannot solve the problem he is part of. The Arab world abhors him. Europe sees him as a Le Pen-style nationalist. The United States sees him as an embarrassing malfunction.

While Shimon Peres is perceived abroad as the attractive side of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman is seen as its ugly side. He cannot thwart the delegitimization assault while his abusive rhetoric and bullying behavior empowers it. Lieberman is playing into the hands of those who want to portray Israel as a racist, lunatic state.

Ehud Olmert paid a heavy price for one reckless mistake - appointing Amir Peretz defense minister. Netanyahu may pay a similar price for appointing Lieberman foreign minister. There are no fatalities in the legitimacy war. In the short range, it doesn't cost any blood. But in the long range, it is immeasurably more important than the Second Lebanon War.

Netanyahu must rearrange his foreign affairs alignment and adopt an innovative strategy. First, he must dismiss the delegitimization minister without delay and place at the head of the Foreign Ministry a worthy individual who will represent enlightened Israel properly.

February 13, 2010 20:00

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