Israel’s Undiplomatic Top Diplomat
Israel’s top diplomat is anything but, well, diplomatic. After almost a year in office Avidgor Lieberman appears to be in the habit of lighting fires in one of the world’s most flammable neighborhoods.
Last week he helped fuel a war of words with Syria that his boss, Benjamin Netanyahu worked quickly to quell.
And just two weeks before that his ministry’s efforts to humiliate the Turkish ambassador about a Turkish television show that depicted Mossad agents as child killers collapsed into an embarrassing row.
In the Syrian flap, Lieberman made his threats to the Syrian government personal, saying, “In the next war not only will you lose, you and your family will lose control of the government.”
Lieberman, leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party (literal translation, the “Israel is Our home” party) has made his name in Israeli politics as the resident tough guy. He immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet republic of Moldova as a teenager and he retains a thick Russian accent and Sovietesque sternness. His campaign in last year’s elections questioned the loyalty of Israel’s Arab citizens, he’s said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “can go to hell” and last spring he publicly clashed with the U.S. over Jewish settlement building during joint press conference with Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps most significantly Lieberman recently gathered all 150 Israeli ambassadors posted around the world in Jerusalem to give them a run-down on his new “national pride” foreign policy.
“The time of groveling is over … we will not turn the other cheek,” Lieberman was reported as telling the diplomatic corps. He said now was the time to restore Israel’s national honor by answering every criticism with a counter-attack. Diplomatic niceties should be secondary to standing up for Israel, he told the ambassadors.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu continues to send Defense Minister Ehud Barak abroad to represent Israel instead of the controversial Lieberman especially when it comes to talking about peace efforts. And back home in Jerusalem it’s Barak that does Israel’s talking with U.S. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell. The obvious snub is one in which Lieberman has been uncharacteristically — and diplomatically — mum.
[State Department photo by Matty Stern U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Public Domain]
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook
- 10 Shaq Confident He Will Eventually Make Funny Quip on TNT