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Avigdor Lieberman’s Back in the News

About to be indicted for money laundering and bribery, Avigdor Lieberman has finally made a headline once again. Believed to be keeping a low profile, spending time in Africa while Barak and Bibi talk to the Americans about Iran, he decided to make another one of his comments about the peace process. According Israel’s foreign minister, there’s no chance of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years.

Avigdor LiebermanI have a hard time figuring out why statements such as these make headlines at all. Isn’t that what everyone says in the street all the time? The only thing special is that Lieberman is the only government official who says it out loud, and he seemingly represents the State. Everyone else wants to sound diplomatic. It is Israel’s top diplomat, however, that doesn’t really care about diplomacy all that much.

Going a bit deeper, Lieberman says it’s unrealistic to think a long-term agreement can be reached at this time and that whoever thinks an agreement can be reached soon just doesn’t understand the situation. Instead, he wants interim agreements that will keep the situation calm until such a time as a permanent agreement can be reached.

To me, this is just more of the same. What’s the difference between a permanent agreement and a temporary agreement? For both of them, you need both sides to agree to something. And that’s what’s proven so impossible these years. So why would temporary work better than permanent? This I fail to understand.

“What is possible to reach is a long-term intermediate agreement … that leaves the tough issues for a much later stage.” He failed to elaborate, as politicians often do.

Does anyone ever think of the possibility of no agreement? After all, this is the direction Israel has been going in lately. The disengagement was one form of that, as it was unilateral. Argue about the direction taken in that unilateral decision one may, but it seems we are on the course of imposing some sort of solution rather than signing more papers.

It’s just a question of what the next unilateral move by Israel will be and who will make it. Oh, it won’t be Lieberman. He’ll probably be in prison or some such place.

Lieberman “If I’m indicted, I’ll quit all my political positions”

Avigdor LiebermanIs Avigdor Lieberman the big bad wolf, or really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Following a number of allegations being made against him by the police for crimes that include money laundering, and accepting bribery, Israel’s Foreign Minister now appears to be ready test his popularity among his own party, Yisrael Beitenu, as well as the Likud led Netanyahu government. By threatening to leave political life, including heading his own party, his cabinet post, and even his Knesset seat, Lieberman hope to get his constituents to rally around him and in the end make him even stronger politically. This supposition became apparent when he stated yesterday that he believes that he will no only win out over the legal case that is built against him, but will even garnish more Knesset mandates (as many as 20) in the next election.

“I reviewed everything I said in the questioning sessions, and I am at peace with all of my actions,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to do things over again, I would do the same.”

The question a lot people are asking, what “things” is Lieberman talking about? Obviously, the F.M. still has a number of issues to work out concerning his activities, both business and political, which seem to be mounting up against him. Since being chosen for the second highest cabinet post behind the Prime Minister’s, Lieberman has not exactly won over most of the world as well as many people here in Israel. Only perhaps in Russia has he been able to find a bit of respect, as he sees eye to eye with people such as Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin. But in the rest of Europe, as well as the USA, his manner has been not well received by virtually everyone he has come in contact with.

Political circles in Jerusalem are already speculating as to who would replace Lieberman should he step down. Most likely, Deputy F.M. Danny Ayalon (a former ambassador to the USA) would temporarily replace him, which makes a lot people happy as Ayalon was very well liked during his tenure in Washington. As to who would replace him in his own party, right winged No. 2, Uzi Landau, would be a likely candidate; although his personal political views are a bit on the extreme side.

Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni doesn’t appear willing to join a Netanyahu led government, so her likelihood of again assuming the post is not likely at present. But in the game of Israeli politics, anything is possible, however.

But the police appear to be putting a case together against Lieberman, and are being backed up by former Police Chief Inspectors, and other high police officials. But Lieberman has managed to keep himself ahead of his accusers before, and could very well be successful again. It all depends on who really is running the police.

A Decade Later – Will Lieberman Finally Face the Music?

For such a young country that has sprung up out of the desert as a regional powerhouse in a matter of decades, Israel sure takes its sweet time when it comes to investigations and legal action against its leaders. An ongoing probe into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that started back when I was in middle school (I’m now 25 and married) is now, finally, coming to a close. Lieberman is suspected of funneling millions of dollars through Cyprus for some good old-fashioned money laundering purposes.

We all have to ask ourselves what, indeed, went on these past 10 years that it took an entire decade to figure out what was going on? The answer, as far as I can tell, is lots of coffee breaks and paid sick days, with some coalition government deals helping the sloth along a bit.

The way coalition government deals work here is, let’s say a government controls 65 seats out of a 120-seat parliament. Now let’s say a big Russian guy named, oh, Avigdor Lieberman to pick a randomly preselected name out of a hat, heads a 15-seat faction in that government. If he leaves, then the government falls, which the Prime Minister doesn’t really want, because that would mean he doesn’t get to be Prime Minister anymore, which would make him sad. So Avigdor says something like, “Hey, Bibi, would you mind making sure the police take plenty of coffee breaks and paid sick days so I don’t get indicted for money laundering? That would be really convenient. I mean, I wouldn’t want to *cough* leave the *cough* government or anything.”

Oh, I don’t have a recording of this conversation or anything, but I’m willing to bet that coughing was involved in some way or another. It usually is in these government setups.

Weimar RepublicAnd most people don’t even know this, but the system of government on which the functionality of the Israeli Knesset is based is, actually, the Weimar Republic of post World War I Germany (flag on right) which quickly fell and led to the rise of the Third Reich. This is an encouraging statistic for those of us who like uneasy excitement in the world. For those of us who suffer from ulcers, it’s a different story.

As reported by Ynetnews, Dr. Aviad HaCohen of Sha’arei Mishpat Academic College was quoted as saying on the case that:

“Although this is complicated and intricate, there is no justification for spreading this over such a long period of time.” In a fit of understatement, he continued, “This is not just causing a delay of justice for Lieberman, but also casting a heavy shadow over the Israeli government.”

It’s hard to say if shadows can indeed be cast in the dark, with the glorious history of the Weimar Republic hanging over your head already.

And what happens if, at the close of the decade, by some sudden lack of a coffee break, Lieberman actually does get indicted? Given that Netanyahu’s coalition consists of no less than 6 parties, you’ve got the equivalent of a pack of hungry wolves converging on the steak that is his position as foreign minister. Given the fact that Lieberman can barely speak English, there are probably some more qualified people that may lay claim to the post, and make some new threats of their own about government stability for the 31st Israeli government in 61 years of statehood.

I’d recommend, for now, that the government take a daily intake of fiber to keep it regular, but I’m not sure that will *cough* work.

Sarkozy to Bibi – Dump Lieberman

SarkozyReverberations are still being felt in Jerusalem following French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s remark to Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu to “get rid of your foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman immediately” in order to expect to have more amicable relations with the EU, as well as with the rest of world. Sarkozy’s immediate remark, made during a meeting of the leaders at Eleysee Palace in Paris, sent shock waves in Israeli government circles, especially within Lieberman’s own party, Israel Beitanu.

Things got so bad back in Israel that Israel Beitanu vice chairman, Uzi Landau, himself known for being a bit of a right-winger, was outraged and asked how the head of state of a country supposedly friendly with Israel could make such a statement regarding a high ranking Israeli cabinet official, especially the Foreign Minister. “It’s hard to believe that the head of a friendly government could make such remarks. If I had been present I would have banged my fist on the table in protest” Landau was reported as saying.

Sarkozy suggested to the P.M. that Kadima Party leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni would be much better choice for the position. The French President is reported to have gone on to say that remarks made by Lieberman in private “are much different than those he makes in public”.

Jean-Marie Le PenWhether Netanyahu takes this advice (said to have been “given from a friend”) to heart will be seen in the coming days. Lieberman’s appointment to the No. 2 government position was seen as a no-choice decision in light of Lieberman’s party garnishing 15 seats in the Knesset in the recent elections. Since Israeli governments are made up by building coalitions with other political parties, Lieberman’s party became the party of choice for Bibi’s Likud party, itself known for its right-of –center views. Netanyahu had offered to form a government with Kadima (now in Opposition), but Kadima Party head Livni rejected the idea as it would have made her party still playing “second fiddle” to the likud – even though Kadima won more seats in parliament than the Likud did.

Meanwhile, Kadima’s second in command, Shaul Mofaz, has been talking about calling a special meeting within his party to circumvent Livni and agree to join Netanyahu’s government –on condition that Bibi replaces Israel Beitanu with Kadima, of course, and perhaps even appoint Mofaz to be either foreign or defense minister (resulting in having to oust Labor Party head Ehud Barak from his cabinet seat in the process, with the result of the Labor Party leaving the government as well).

Getting back to Messier Sarkozy, he even said that French ultra right wing party leader Jean-Marie Le-Pen “is much more pleasant in private than Lieberman”.

Michael Oren Israel’s new US Ambassador

Michael OrenDr. Michael Oren, an American by birth and currently a professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University, has been chosen by the new Israeli government as the next ambassador to the USA. Dr. Oren came to Israel in 1979, and has served in the IDF’s Paratroop Brigade, seeing combat duty during the 1982 war in Lebanon. Receiving a PHD in Middle East Studies in 1986, Oren’s connection to this region also includes a number of academic publications, including the best seller Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East ; an in-depth study of the June, 1967 war. This particular work, published in 2002, received the Los Angeles Times Literary Award for History and was on the New York Times best seller list for seven weeks. The Washington Post called this book the “Best history of the Six Day War written to date.”

He has also published numerous works dealing with Israeli foreign policy and political implications of recent Middle Eastern events. His most recent book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, published in 2007, deals with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East from 1776 to present day.

Oren has also served as IDF spokesperson in recent military conflicts, and while on a break from his academic career in January served as an IDF spokesman during the recent Cast Lead operation. He also served as an Israeli liaison officer to the US Sixth Fleet during the 1991 Gulf War.

Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are very impressed with Oren credentials to serve in this post. Oren will replace current ambassador, Sallai Meridor, who agreed to step down following the formation of the new Netanyahu government.

American politicians are also very pleased with the new appointment, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a leading Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; who said that Oren will be “an outstanding ambassador for Israel”.

It appears that Oren’s experience and background makes him one of the most outstanding appointees for this position to date. We wish him the utmost success as Israel’s new US Ambassador. Just watch out for those sex toys

The Dale Carnegie Course Lieberman style

Dale Carnegy Vs Liberman“I have seen all the proposals made so generously by Ehud Olmert, but I have not seen any result”; so spoke Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, during his first address to the media after assuming his post. He went on to say that the way the free world has tried to deal with issues like Islamic sponsored terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program hasn’t worked, and that the real world security problems are coming from countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq and not from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lieberman specifically renounced the giving of concessions in order to gain peace. “The fact that we say the word “peace” twenty times a day will not bring peace any closer”, he added. He also said that the time-worn “Westphalia” conception of nation states is dead, and has been replaced by a modern conception of states, semi-states and “irrational international players” most noteworthy Al Qaeda and Iran. But what seemed to frost many diplomats the most, especially Egypt’s, was when he said he will only go there on diplomatic missions if his counterpart is willing to visit him in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. That remark caused the Egyptian ambassador to say he will “keep his hands in his pockets” should the two men even meet face to face.

Judging from the silence that emanated from his remarks, and the comments made by various international medias afterwards, Foreign Minister Lieberman did not go very far in regards to the strategies mooted by that world famous maestro of human relations Dale Carnegie, whose best selling book How to Make Friends and Influence People appeared in the late 1930’s, and is still widely used for perfecting human relations strategies by many people today.

Thus began the term of the man who is questioned and even feared in his own country, regarding his outlook on the present world order; especially when he ended his 15 minute reality trip by quoting an ancient Roman general who said in regards to peace: “Si vis pacem para bellum“– if you want peace, prepare for war – be strong!”

Dale Carnegie would never have used this strategy in his world famous books and self improvement courses; but again, Lieberman is not Carnegie, and doesn’t intend to be. And we can all be certain that Israel’s enemies and critiques are already aware of this…

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