Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the Millionth Time, Fire Avigdor Lieberman!

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave a speech at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly today. He was speaking as the official representative of the State of Israel, of course, and so should have spoken about the Israeli government's official policy. That isn't what he did. Instead, he pushed his own agenda, saying peace with the Palestinians isn't possible in the next few years and that any peace deal would have to include not only land swaps but swaps of the populations on that land (meaning that technically, the people would stay put, only the border would move and, in the case of Israeli Arabs, their citizenship would change). So now, despite Benjamin Netanyahu distancing himself from Lieberman's words, this speech is now taken as the official policy of Israel by many countries. I can't blame them. After all, a foreign minister addressing the UN General Assembly is always assumed to be speaking for his country. That's part of diplomacy - when the president, prime minister or foreign minister of a country says something, it has has official significance.

Avigdor Lieberman has always been a loose cannon. Appointing him to be Israel's top diplomat was one of the most irresponsible things Netanyahu ever did. This speech at the UN should have been the final straw. In a normal country, a foreign minister who strays from official foreign policy at such an important international forum would be fired. That's what should happen in this case. I have no illusions. I know Bibi is too dependent on Yisrael Beitenu to keep his coalition together, and not losing the prime minister's seat is more important to him than Israel's standing in the world.

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