Saturday, January 15

Israel's Tarnished Image

Portrait of Avigdor LiebermanImage via Wikipedia
We are all aware that Israel's image in the world is becoming tarnished. There are a number of reasons for this. It is not anti-Semitism as the paranoid right wing Zionists is so quick in claiming. It is the external and internal situation of the present Israeli Government's own creation.

I shall try to describe Israel's relationship with friendly countries beyond its borders and see what went wrong. Of course it is my personal gut feeling and I am aware that many people who are supporters of Israel will find my view unacceptable to their Zionist dreams and world view.

The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, must be blamed for legitimizing right wing extremism and his hate for the left wing in Israel. He has even gone so far as to attack members of Netanyahu's coalition government of which he is part. It seems as if those who do not agree with him and his party's right wing views are against Israel's fight against terror and are aiding Israel's enemies.

Lieberman is trying to teach moderates and people with left wing views what Zionism is and deviation from his racist views is suspect of being treacherous.

Today it is the beginning of the witch-hunt for human rights organizations which are the checks and balances organizations against the abuse of power whether it is by the majority against the minority or vice versa. The excuse given by Avigdor Lieberman is that these leftists are getting funds from organizations that promote terrorism and delegitimize the IDF.

Avigdor Lieberman is playing a dangerous game. It is part of a grand plan, orchestrated by Avigdor Lieberman and his right wing cronies, to make laws that will investigate the funding of human rights groups. I presume that Lieberman will accuse even the mainstream politicians in the Knesset as not serving Israel's interests by not supporting Lieberman's anti-democratic bill.

It is inevitable that democracy in Israel will be compromised while Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party remains in the ruling coalition. The essence of democracy is to ensure the electorate the right to choose the government that protects human rights as well as the rule of law with its healthy checks and balances against abuse of power.

Thanks to Lieberman and his cronies, democracy in Israel is threatened and the threats and xenophobia towards foreigners and minority non-Jewish Israelis is becoming common place.

The emphasis on Israel being a Jewish and a democratic state and the pledge of allegiance by non-Jewish citizens of Israel is a sign that national paranoia is increasing.

B'tzelem, the Israeli human rights organization, whose findings on human rights abuses towards Palestinians as well as violence against Israelis are investigated by this organization. Even the IDF relies on their findings. They are also on Lieberman’s firing line. The Physicians for Human Rights organization have also not escaped Lieberman's wrath. It is unclear how this organization is a danger to Israel’s security. This organization has established clinics to tend to the health of foreign workers and their offspring who have no medical cover. If anything, this organization's absence would create an increasing load on Israel's health services.

Lieberman as Foreign Minister is toadying to some of the most anti democratic leaders in the world. The leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and Vladimir Putin of Russia are his friends. He panders to these post communist dictators with a history of suppressing opposition to their regimes. Both intimidate their opponents while poker-faced Putin has contracts for destroying and intimidating journalists who criticize his rule ruthlessly. This is part of Russia's heritage. Russia has never been a democracy - not under the Tsars, the Communists, or even today. This is Lieberman's heritage as well which is directed towards his pet hates - the Arabs and leftists. This is hardly surprising as they share a common anti democratic heritage and common language.

Lieberman's racism and intended witch-hunts against those whom he hates is doing a great amount of damage to Israel. Countries friendly to Israel are becoming more critical of Israel than in the past. Undoubtedly, some of this is Lieberman's doing.
Eli Yishai, leader of Shas, the ultra-Orthodox Party and Minister of the Interior holds similar views to Lieberman towards the Arabs. He has his own agenda of Halacha (Jewish Law – somewhat akin to Moslem Sharia or Islamic law under extremists) and this is not foreigner friendly.

We in Israel seem to forget that we happen to be part of the planet called Earth and that we are dependent on other nations of the world as well as their friendship. If Israel adopts policies that are discriminatory towards Arabs and non-Jews, we cannot expect to be free from criticism. The accusation that the whole world is anti-Semitic as a reaction to Liebermanism rings hollow. 

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1 comment:

The Engineer said...

This conflict is interesting in the context an article I just posted...