No that’s not the name of a new tablet for erectile dysfunction or sleep deprivation.
It’s the name of the new fascist on the block, Avigdor Lieberman, founder of the ultra-right wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, the new Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.
Avigdor Lieberman’s past is troubling to say the least. He is reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz to have once been a member of the racist Kach party founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane. The movement which advocates violence against civilians has since been declared a terrorist organization both in the United States and Israel. He admitted to have been involved in at least two violent incidents against Arab students as a member of the student group Kastel.
Larry Derfner, senior writer and columnist with the Jerusalem Post, wrote that Lieberman is “a politician who, with his appeal to racism, militarism, fear of alien ‘subversives’ and the yearning for a strong leader, fits the classic, textbook definition of a fascist.”
Israeli Labour minister Ophir Pines-Paz has stated that Lieberman was tainted “by racist declarations and declarations that harm the democratic character of Israel”.
British Investigative journalist, Robert Fisk, wrote about why Avigdor Lieberman is the worst thing that could happen to the Middle East drawing parallels between Avigdor’s language and that of the Serbian genocide masters, Mladic and Karadzic and Milosevic.
Avigdor Lieberman believes that Israeli Arabs are the enemy within, he does not believe in an open and free pluralistic democracy as the West understands and appreciates it; instead he envisions a state that would penalize citizens who did not agree with its (his?) idealogical disposition.
Avigdor and his party wish to socially engineer the demographic make-up of the state of Israel: reduce the number of citizens of Arab extraction by transfering them out, and increase those of Jewish extraction via increased immigration. In the true vein of fascism, Lieberman advocates mandatory loyalty to the “state” and a revocation of citizenship for those who fail to comply. He envisions Israel as a Jewish supremacist state not as a democracy.
“The vision I would like to see here is the entrenching of the Jewish and the Zionist state…I very much favour democracy, but when there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important.” (Scotsman, October 23, 2006)
Activist Ali Abunimah reported that “when [Lieberman] served as minister of transport in a previous government, Lieberman called for all Palestinian prisoners held by the Israeli occupation authorities to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses (“Lieberman blasted for suggesting drowning Palestinian prisoners,” Ha’aretz, July 11, 2002).
Hebrew University professor Ze’ev Sternhell, a leading Israeli academic specialist on fascism and totalitarianism, was quoted by the Scotsman newspaper as terming Lieberman “perhaps the most dangerous politician in the history of the state of Israel.”
“The only difference between Lieberman and [the late Austrian politician Jörg] Haider and [the French politician Jean-Marie] Le Pen is that they were against immigrants, while Lieberman is an immigrant inciting against the natives,” a spokeswoman for an Arab Israeli Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, said.
And it goes on and on and on…
In short, Lieberman’s extreme world view and disturbing rhetoric has left many observers around the world, including many Israelis, shocked and frightened.
Not so, Daniel Pipes. Avigdor has him “elated.”
Interestingly, he freely acknowledges the adverse reaction this man has had on moderate people. And yet in the same breath as if to finally admit his own extremism, he makes no attempt to hide his admiration or contain his excitement for Avigdor Lieberman. And so, the day after this dangerous and divisive supremacist delivered his first speech as minister, Daniel Pipes raced to his computer to warmly welcome the world’s newest fascist in a blog entry entitled “Avigdor Lieberman’s Brilliant Debut“:
Avigdor Lieberman became foreign minister of Israel yesterday. He celebrated his inauguration with a maiden speech that news reports indicate left his listeners grimacing, squirming, and aghast. The BBC, for example, informs us that his words prompted “his predecessor Tzipi Livni to interrupt and diplomats to shift uncomfortably.”
Too bad for them – the speech leaves me elated.
It’s official people. But then again, we knew it all along!