FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mr. Lieberman Comes to Washington

When far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party joined the Israeli government, pro-peace Israelis expressed outrage. The Brookings Institution extended an invitation.

Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy is holding the third annual Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. from December 8 through the 10th. This year’s forum is entitled “America and Israel: Confronting a Middle East in Turmoil” ­ “turmoil,” meaning pissed off Arabs, of course.

In his new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter charges that we lack a national discussion about our nation’s support for Israel. This invitation proves his point, as does the entire forum ­ which doesn’t think any Arabs, not even the empire butt-kissers, need be present. For some reason, they invited Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, but not a single Arab.

An Arab-less discussion of the Middle East fits comfortably with one prominent guest’s vision of the holy land. Lieberman is one of Israel’s leading advocates of forcibly removing masses of Palestinians in order to alter the country’s demographic outlay permanently. This has a more common name: ethnic cleansing.

A constant advocate for escalation and extremity, Lieberman’s repulsive ideas are more roundly condemned in Israel than they are here. When Lieberman joined the government, one cabinet minister, Ophir Pines-Paz, called him a “racist” and resigned in protest.

In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted with dismay one of Lieberman’s many disgusting proposals. If the Palestinians did not comply with Israeli dictates, he suggested, the occupying forces should “bomb all the commercial centers… gas stations… [and] banks.”

Lieberman’s ghastly plan for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel was to drown them in the Dead Sea. He offered to provide the buses to transport them.

In May, 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens would “have to find a new Arab entity” beyond Israel’s borders. Lieberman, an immigrant from Russia, claimed the Palestinian citizens of Israel “have no place here.” Russians do, of course. This newcomer has the nerve to tell Palestinians with ancient lineage to “take their bundles and get lost.”

More recently, he called for the execution of Arab Knesset members who meet with the Palestinian Authority.

Despite the vitriol of this hatemonger, the Brookings Institution is proudly hosting the former nightclub bouncer on his upcoming trip to Washington. Officials at the Institution said they were “honored” to host Lieberman’s first address abroad since joining the government.

The sober-minded Christian Science Monitor ran a headline that would raise serious questions if Brookings were serious about Middle East policy. “Israeli cabinet minister calls for Arab-free Israel,” it read. Israeli newspaper Haaretz editorialized that Lieberman is “the most unrestrained and irresponsible man around for this job.” But, hey, he’s in the can’t-do-wrong Israeli government now, so let’s give him a forum in Washington, DC.

When Lieberman speaks on December 8, he will share the stage with Senator Hillary Clinton, as well as Bill Clinton. Like every other Democrat, they failed to utter one critical word about Lieberman’s new role in the government ­ even though he was a rabid opponent of the Oslo peace process.

Hillary Clinton’s willingness to mingle with Israel’s far right is nothing new. In 2002, she met with Benny Elon of the Moledet party, which openly called for the forcible transfer of Palestinians.

Many Democrats objected to the electoral success of Hamas in the barely functioning Palestinian Authority. They considered it a threat to peace. Senator Clinton was “deeply troubled” by the Palestinian elections. Instead of consistency, she openly embraces this fanatical ideologue who calls for driving the Palestinians into the sea.

This is not to suggest the Republicans have been honest brokers. President Bush is the most pro-Israeli American leader ever. The bipartisanship of support for Israel is reflected in the Institution’s invitation to Henry Kissinger to moderate the talk.

Kissinger would be an appropriate moderator because he is moderate compared to Lieberman. He argued for “transfer” publicly in 2004. In exchange for “some 5 to 8 percent” of the West Bank, “Israel would transfer some of its current territory to the Palestinian state.” To “ease the demographic problem” of too many Arabs in Israel, he advised stripping them of citizenship regardless of their wishes.

Li/eberman is welcomed by members of America’s so-called pro-civil rights, pro-minority party and their institutions. The hypocrisy of the Democrats ­ who are lined up against ethnic cleaning in Darfur, but support it in Palestine ­ is revolting.

This all strengthens President Carter’s point that the country lacks much-needed debate on America’s role in Israel-Palestine. You would think that the billions of dollars of tax aid American hands to Israel would merit some disagreement at the elite-level. In an interview with CBS, he explained the void of sensibility: the “news media are acquiescent, members of the Congress are acquiescent” while “the rest of the world debates this intensely, particularly in Israel.”

American policymakers show reverence to Mandela and King, yet back an Apartheid state that oppresses and dispossess people based on nothing more than ethno-religious difference while claiming to be a democracy.

Contact the Brookings Institution: 202-797-6105 | communications@brookings.edu

Contact the Saban Center: 202-797-6462 | saban@brookings.edu

WILL YOUMANS is a Washington DC-based writer for the Arab-American News.

 

 

More articles by:

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail