Lieberman is no abnormality
A good article is one that elicits a reaction of: ‘of course, that is obvious’.
Lieberman and the shift right are the zeitgeist of Israel …
Nimer Sultany, The Electronic Intifada, 24 March 2009
It would be mistaken to think of the rise of Avigdor Lieberman as a major development or as the main source of concern for the Palestinians. (Levine/SIPA)
One can easily detect a generally superficial, and convenient, analysis of the outcomes of Israeli elections in western media outlets thus far. Indeed, the far right-wing of the Zionist continuum has strengthened its hold on the Israeli political system in the recent Israeli elections. Yet, it would be misleading to see these results as mainly the direct product of the onslaught on Gaza and the popular sentiment that followed, and to isolate them from processes that were underway years before the war. Indeed, the right-wing has been in a better position than the left within the Jewish vote since 1977, and its power has been steadily increasing since Ehud Barak destroyed the so-called Zionist left in Camp David 2000 and its aftermath.
Likewise, it would be mistaken to think of the rise of Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, as a major development or as the main source of concern for the Palestinians. Focusing on Lieberman (charitably called by the Guardian a “hardliner”) distracts the discussion from the real issues to the person of one unpleasant politician who says ignominious things others are generally unwilling to say. This logic seems to suggest that the political disappearance of Lieberman will bring about a serendipitous resolution of major problems in the Middle East. Lieberman, however, only exacerbates an already existing problem, and he cannot be easily dismissed as a marginal case of excess or abnormality of the Israeli political system.
First, one needs to be reminded that among Yisrael Beiteinu’s elected members of the Knesset are men who come from the establishment, for example, a former ambassador to the US and a former senior commander in the police force. –more–