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Reminder: Netanyahu is responsible for Lieberman

The fact that Lieberman is still the Foreign Minister shows Netanyahu puts own interests ahead of the country’s

The most urgent political demand in Israel is the removal of Avigdor Lieberman from his position as foreign minister. Not the most original insight, I know, but it has to be said again.

Two days ago, Lieberman leaked his new plan for retaliation against Turkey, which he claimed was the brainchild of senior Foreign Office officials. The plan included promoting information about the Armenian genocide, and military support of the PKK, a Kurdish militia which carried terror attacks against Turkish civilians (as well as military targets), and is considered a terror organization by the US and the European Union.

What can I say? Pure genius. The idea of fighting Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide is enough to make you vomit. I doubt there is any country in the world, Turkey aside, who did so much to deny it as Israel did. Israel’s Turkish interest led to 30 years of official denial. When former Education Minister Yossi Sarid dared to speak the verboten words, he was attacked by the security apparatus. When an Israeli Armenian was chosen to light one of the flares at the Independence Day ceremony, some 15 years back, she was under tremendous pressure not to mention the events early Hebrew journalist Itamar Ben Avi published, which Ambassador Morgenthau tried to prevent, which Franz Werfel immortalized and which gave Raphael Lemkin the concept of genocide. If to deny a holocaust is to be a partner in it, Israel is Turkey’s main accomplice.

The rapid change in Israel’s position is particularly repellent: Suddenly, it reverses course and adopts the historical truth – for its own purposes, of course, and after it made every effort to deny it and made the Jewish-American establishment do the same. One can imagine a new regime in Ankara, a more friendly one, may make Israel speedily change its position on the events of 1915-1916. George Bernard Shaw said all that needs to be said about such behavior; Israel is merely bargaining for a better price.

The suggestion that Israel supply the PKK with arms is too delusional to debate seriously. Just thinking of our agents getting caught red-handed delivering explosives meant to blow up Turks, a casus belli against a  NATO nation, is enough to make you shiver. What does it say about a country, whose foreign minister comes up with such suggestions? I guess we should consider ourselves lucky Lieberman didn’t publicly advocate bombing Ankara.

FO officials angrily denied (Hebrew) that they made such suggestions. According to them, and they seem far more believable than Lieberman, they suggested ways to put out the flames. Generally, I think that officials who attack their elected ministers ought to resign, but Lieberman managed to bring about an hitherto unimaginable position: Officials having to defend themselves from being libeled by their minister.

Lieberman, and this is not much of a secret, does not really act as a foreign minister. He skips important meetings – for instance, he wasn’t present in the urgent meeting called by Netanyahu after the Turks sent the Israeli ambassador home. And he spends much of his time in his homeland, Moldavia, or in Belarus. Well, if he misses home so much, shouldn’t he relieve himself of the burdensome offices he took upon himself?

The problem, however, is not Lieberman. Or, more precisely, not just Lieberman. The real problem is the prime minister, who does not rein him in. Netanyahu does not dare to treat Lieberman as he treats his Likud rival Silvan Shalom, who may have been a caricature of a foreign minister, but, although he was certainly useless, caused little if any damage. The reason is, of course, is Shalom can’t bring Netanyahu’s government down, while Lieberman can. The best Netanyahu can do is say he does not support Lieberman’s policy. Which is to say, Netanyahu is selling Israel’s long-term interests for his personal survival in power. The responsibility for Lieberman’s behavior lies with the man who appointed him and who can fire him at any time, but refrains from doing so for his own selfish reasons.

Not, again, that this is a new insight; but people ought to be reminded of it from time to time.

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    COMMENTS

    1. RichardNYC

      “I doubt there is any country in the world, Turkey aside, who did so much to deny it as Israel did.”
      You’re right, its totally outrageous that a microscopic polity like Israel would take an offensive and dishonest position on a century-old genocide in order reduce the present risk of mortal danger to its own citizens – the horror. How dare Israel prioritize living human beings who themselves suffered a more recent genocide.
      “If to deny a holocaust is to be a partner in it, Israel is Turkey’s main accomplice.”
      Never miss an opportunity to demonize Israel – it might make you less “relevant” or “alternative” or “independent.” So now the Jews killed the Armenians? Nice one. But actually the kind of denial you’re referring to would have to take place while the genocide IS HAPPENING – not a century later. Its nice for Israel at least that by extending your argument one can implicate the entire Muslims and Arab world in the Holocaust.
      Yossi – until we uproot the source of your pathology, it would probably be better for you not to publish screeds that mingle pragmatic and obvious ideas (dump Lieberman off the truck) with childish and hateful characterizations of Israel and Jews – you discredit the ideas you’re actually proposing. This seems to be a recurring problem with “radical” Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      RichardNYC moral pretzel-bending is breathtaking. Essentially it’s OK to deny a holocaust if this might be of political advantage to Israel, but “demonizing” Israel if it changes its mind, for purely political reasons, to support the truth.

      One day, according to this reasoning, Israelis will see some political advantage in denying the Jewish holocaust of the 1940s, and poof! it will have never happened.

      Reply to Comment
    3. I found the article refreshing & human!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Note the israel-uber-alles crowd crow, & completely avoid the MOST damning fact discussed above, SUPPORT OF PRESENT-TENSE TERRORISM now!

      Reply to Comment
    5. That makes the problem quite a bit bigger than just one in Foreign Ministry, though!

      Reply to Comment
    6. RichardNYC, if that is your real name,

      You’re right, its totally outrageous that a microscopic polity like Israel would take an offensive and dishonest position on a century-old genocide in order reduce the present risk of mortal danger to its own citizens – the horror. How dare Israel prioritize living human beings who themselves suffered a more recent genocide.

      Remind me of this the next time official Israel and its affiliates whine about holocaust denial. Apparently, when Israel does it, it’s not all that bad, possibly even laudable. *This* is the hypocrisy here.

      So now the Jews killed the Armenians? Nice one.

      And where, aside from your own strange mental world, have I said anything of the sort? Anyone reading the post might have noticed four prominent Jews who did precisely the opposite of what Israel does. And, no, Israel does not mean “Jews”. Luckily, most Jews ain’t Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    7. RichardNYC

      “Remind me of this the next time official Israel and its affiliates whine about holocaust denial.*This* is the hypocrisy here.”
      Uh, actually no, since Armenians and Israelis are not similarly situated – Israelis denying the Armenian genocide to preserve an alliance that protects Israeli lives is not the same as Arabs denying the Holocaust to justify a genocidal war against Israel. Its hard to believe you’re morally serious here.
      “And where, aside from your own strange mental world, have I said anything of the sort? ”
      You’re slipping dude. You said above that Israel was Turkey’s make accomplice to, and a partner in, the Armenian holocaust.
      “If to deny a holocaust is to be a partner in it, Israel is Turkey’s main accomplice.”
      Your signature evasiveness isn’t really helping you here…

      Reply to Comment
    8. Philos

      Haha, nice one YG. “Luckily, most Jews ain’t Israelis.”

      Although I do give RichardNYC credit for some creative mental acrobatics even if it is crude. Although what I would like to know is how the Armenians and Jews aren’t similarly situated (whatever that means)?

      “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolf Hitler, 1939

      Perhaps you should ponder that one before defending Israel’s shameful silence Mr NYC?

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      So it would be OK for Arabs to deny the Jewish genocide in order to save Arab lives, is what you’re saying. Isn’t that precisely the position taken by Ahmadinejad? He claims that the Jewish genocide is used as an excuse by Israel to conduct war against the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Piotr Berman

      I think that recognition of Armenian Holocaust by either Israel, USA or both is (a) long overdue and (b) it would be a non-event.

      For example, Iran acknowledged Armenian Holocaust and while Iran and Turkey have their differences, Armenian question is simply what they “agree to disagree”. My impression is that Turks have a certain ideological position on the issue, and of course, they would issue some statements but that would be it.

      Support for PKK is another beast altogether. For starters, for an American resident, that would be criminal. Israel would qualify as a “terror exporting state”, and while it would be spared American sanctions, Turkey could have more luck in other jurisdictions. Most importantly, the wrath of Turkey would be certain, and the only question is if they would prefer revenge to be served cold or hot.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sam Smith

      This needs to be repeated daily.
      During the crisis around the embassy in Cairo, Bibi was on the phone with Obama, Barak was talking to Panetta, and Lieberman was calling… Chișinău?

      Reply to Comment
    12. RichardNYC

      @ARISTEIDIS
      Yes, Ahmadinejad says that – but his sponsorship of Hamas doesn’t save lives, it creates wars and ends lives. His Holocaust denial and incitement against Israel is the cause of much Palestinian suffering, not a remedy for it. There isn’t a parallel there. And Iranian Holocaust denial is totally irrelevant to Iranians’ well-being.

      Reply to Comment
    13. RichardNYC

      Notice that the career Israel haters simultaneously blame Netanyahu for fucking up Israel’s relationship with Turkey, and then turn around and blame him for not doing more to fuck up Israel’s relationship with Turkey (Armenian Genocide). Which is it? Should Turkey have an alliance with Israel or not? If you want Israel to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, you know that would send things downhill in a hurry with Turkey, so why do you EVEN CARE whether Bibi apologizes? Oh that’s right, you people only care about shitting on Israel. “Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.”

      Reply to Comment
    14. Philos

      Actually, we were criticizing Israel’s historic stance on the Armenian genocide and not the specific stance of the current government. We were saying that in light of the historic stance recognition of the Armenian genocide is just pure and unadulterated cynicism. In such a situation I wouldn’t want to hear of an Israeli recognition because it would be too nauseating to stomach. Recognition would have to come from a place of deep moral sentiment alone and the fact that Israeli recognition would be difficult for the Turks is an Israeli mistake from when they opted to go along with it in the first place.
      Naturally, it wouldn’t be prudent for the Israeli government to recognize the Armenian genocide now and I don’t think they should. Because it won’t be genuine. But if one day our relations should improve then we must; or, conversely, if we’ve completely burnt that bridge then when we do it should be genuine.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Jewish holocaust may not save lives, but it’s equally as mendacious to claim that Israel’s denial of the Armenian holocaust has been saving Jewish lives.

      Israel was sucking up to Turkey for pure political advantage, just as Ahmadinejad is spouting off to strengthen his own political advantage at home.

      If holocaust denial – any holocaust – is something you can turn on and off for political advantage, then the Jewish holocaust isn’t actually some kind of sacred undeniable truth, as we are always hearing.

      Reply to Comment
    16. RichardNYC

      @ARISTEIDIS
      “it’s equally as mendacious to claim that Israel’s denial of the Armenian holocaust has been saving Jewish lives.”
      Any analysis here?
      “Israel was sucking up to Turkey for pure political advantage”
      Any analysis here? What’s “political advantage”? For what purpose? It seems you’re trying to obscure the real value, in human lives, of the Israel/Turkey alliance by calling it “political advantage.” I guess South Sudan’s war of independence was fought ‘just’ to gain “political advantage” too, right?
      “then the Jewish holocaust isn’t actually some kind of sacred undeniable truth, as we are always hearing.”
      Well it is, but I don’t think too many Jews would complain if Egyptian Copts, under siege in their own society from Muslim Fascists, engaged in Holocaust denial for physical protection.

      Reply to Comment
    17. RichardNYC

      “We were saying that in light of the historic stance recognition of the Armenian genocide is just pure and unadulterated cynicism.”
      So what? What makes you think Israel is in a position to provoke Turkey that way? Why should they, given their tenuous national security situation? The haters’ fake disgust at Israel’s position on the Armenian Genocide (historical and current) is simply an expression of their desire to see Israel fuck itself, or at a desire to see the Jews once more become abhorred by world – always searching for reasons to hate the Jews…what is the obsession?

      Reply to Comment
    18. RichardNYC

      Note also there is a very big difference between between a government (1) indoctrinating its population with Holocaust denial in order to rally support for a genocidal war
      (2) Not giving a shit about what your population thinks about the historicity of a genocide whilst not taking an official government position in favor of it.
      Do Israelis vociferously deny the Armenian Holocaust? Is the desire the destroy Armenia part of political Judaism? Then wheres the parallel in the first place?

      Reply to Comment
    19. aristeides

      “simply an expression of their desire to see Israel fuck itself, or at a desire to see the Jews once more become abhorred by world – always searching for reasons to hate the Jews …”

      No analysis here! Any disgust at Israel’s mendacity has to be “fake” and motivated by anti-semitism.

      Because of course no one could sincerely be devoted to the righteousness of historical truth. “Who remembers the Armenians?”

      Reply to Comment
    20. David O

      Can you imagine what Israel’s response would have been if Armenia had launched a two decade campaign of genocide denial including lobbying the US Congress to denial the Jewish Genocide.
      I consider all those who deny any genocide established by historical fact to be the scum of the earth to be avoided at all costs.

      Reply to Comment
    21. David O

      Iran is an ally of Turkey yet they recognize the Armenian Genocide. There is no excuse whatsoever for politically motivated genocide denial. Any state that practices genocide denial should be treated like a pariah.

      Reply to Comment
    22. David O

      Do Israelis vociferously deny the Armenian Holocaust?

      Yes for 2 decades lobbying the US Congress.

      Reply to Comment
    23. RichardNYC

      @DAVID O
      “I consider all those who deny any genocide established by historical fact to be the scum of the earth to be avoided at all costs.”
      With a gun to your head, you’d deny anything. Let’s not be fantastical please.

      Reply to Comment
    24. RichardNYC

      @ARISTEIDIS
      “No analysis here! Any disgust at Israel’s mendacity has to be “fake” and motivated by anti-semitism.”
      OK, the how do YOU explain the Israeli government’s policy here? What reasons does the Israeli government have for doing this? Are those bad reasons? Why? Please try to refrain from generalized nonsense like “political advantage” – be specific – then we’ll see who’s priorities make sense…

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    25. RichardNYC

      “Do Israelis vociferously deny the Armenian Holocaust?
      Yes for 2 decades lobbying the US Congress.”
      I think you’re talking about AIPAC or maybe the Israeli GOVERNMENT – do average Israelis, those living IN ISRAEL, experience unending propaganda from their own government on the matter? Do they yell “DEATH TO ARMENIA” by the millions? The answer is no. The Israeli GOVERNMENT isn’t interested in created a religion of hatred against Armenia – its only trying to protect Israel – if you don’t see the difference you’re lying or at least not trying.

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    26. RichardNYC

      @DAVID O
      How much does Iran need Turkey? How much does Israel need Turkey? There’s the difference buddy. Of course denying a genocide is bad – that’s never been the issue – the issue is whether anything can justify it – the Israel haters of course say “nothing can” because they want Israel to do anything to isolate itself. But when push comes to shove, any nation will do or say anything for physical security of living human beings, as it should. If Armenians were physically besieged by genocidal enemies and needed an alliance with Turkey to save themselves, I don’t think Jews would really care that much about their Holocaust denial…

      Reply to Comment
    27. Piotr Berman

      As I wrote, Iran and France, to mention two countries, recognize officially Armenian Holocaust and Turkey does not make too much of it.

      What is rather strange is that it is not the first time this issue is raised in Israel and STILL the official recognition is not done. Why? If you just bury the issue it is a minor hypocrisy. But raising it every few months or so and not acting upon it, that is major hypocrisy. Basically, Turks are not the only people who have a grudge toward Armenians. Israeli politician cannot utter word “Armenians” with compassion.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Do they yell “DEATH TO ARMENIA” by the millions? The answer is no. The Israeli GOVERNMENT isn’t interested in created a religion of hatred against Armenia – its only trying to protect Israel – if you don’t see the difference you’re lying or at least not trying.

      So, as long as Israel doesn’t publicly support the murder of Armenians, denying their holocaust is OK? Unfuckingbelievable.

      Two questions: A. You keep claiming Israel’s holocaust denial saved lives. Can you kindly provide us with proof of that? B. Given that Israel supports the denial of one holocaust, isn’t it awfully hypocritical of it to loudly whine about the denial of another?

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    29. RichardNYC

      “So, as long as Israel doesn’t publicly support the murder of Armenians, denying their holocaust is OK? Unfuckingbelievable.”
      No – that’s only part of my point. If you’re taking this seriously, read my posts again and you’ll understand
      A. Proof: Israel is surrounded by enemies and needs every regional alliance it can get, especially military alliances, to deter and mitigate conflicts. How do you explain Israel’s desire to have a military alliance with Turkey? If you’re mocking Lieberman’s decision to Torpedo relations with Turkey, that means you think Israel shouldn’t do that, RIGHT? WHY? I’m sorry its painful to see you’ve contradicted yourself, but you have. Either Israel needs Turkey or it doesn’t. If it does – then its pretty easy to justify its official GOVERNMENT policy on Armenia. If it doesn’t – why do you even care what Lieberman does?
      B. I’ve answered this stupid question above. Read my posts again. Are you really this simple?
      I am increasingly amazed that you’re taken seriously by other writers here – I thought Dana was the only joke here. You don’t seem capable of college-level reasoning – you know, finding similarities and differences in different factual situations – comparing and contrasting them; getting past oversimplification, hyperbole, etc…

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    30. RichardNYC

      @PIOTR BERMAN
      “STILL the official recognition is not done. Why?”
      Security. Anything else?

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    31. A. Proof: Israel is surrounded by enemies and needs every regional alliance it can get, especially military alliances, to deter and mitigate conflicts.

      And, again: Which lives were saved? If you want me to be a partner to holocaust denial, and say it will save lives, then you’ll have to do better than that.

      As for the second point, the US needed Turkey in the Cold War slightly more than Israel needed it, and it did not stoop to this. The Turkish alliance was important, but – for a country that bases its existence on the holocaust – not that important. It’s amazing you think holocaust denial is acceptable if it is profitable. I guess the Iranian regime will say the same.

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    32. RichardNYC

      @YOSSI
      “And, again: Which lives were saved?”
      I dunno, which West German lives were saved by the existence of NATO? How many lives have been saved by the banning of smoking in bars in New York City? Just because I can’t give you a list of specific humans doesn’t mean these policies were worthless. Public policy is about risks, not certainties. I’ve answered your question already – its about security. Any analysis in response, like “no its not about security its about this”? And BTW, you’re NOT a partner is ‘holocaust denial’ anymore than all of the citizens of all of the countries whose governments have behaved as Israel’s has: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide_recognition
      Take a look at this map and tell me you don’t feel foolish. I don’t see any Britons or Danes masochisticly volunteering their countries for whipping boy status over this…SO WHY ARE YOU?
      “As for the second point, the US needed Turkey in the Cold War slightly more than Israel needed it, and it did not stoop to this.”
      Stoop to what? When did the USA valiantly defend the Armenians? When there was actually a nuclear threat in the 50’s and 60’s? Don’t think so buddy. And there’s still no federal law about it. HR 106 didn’t pass b/c of Iraq. Check your facts.
      “The Turkish alliance was important, but – for a country that bases its existence on the holocaust – not that important.”
      I think you meant to write “all the more important” because what you actually wrote doesn’t make any sense at all.
      “It’s amazing you think holocaust denial is acceptable if it is profitable.”
      What do you mean “profitable” Are the dozens of other countries behaving likewise also in it for the big bucks? Or is it just the Jews who value $ over human lives? Funny thing to imply coming from an ex-Jew. No baggage there or anything I’m sure…

      Reply to Comment
    33. RichardNYC

      You people might as well give me a column because my comments are a lot more interesting and insightful that most of the opinion pieces here…

      Reply to Comment
    34. Armenian

      If Israel took a neutral stand (like many other countries) on the Armenian Genocide. The lies and the truth wouldn’t be Israel’s humiliation. Using the Genocide as a bargaining chip is low. Very low. As they say “What goes around comes around”. turkey is trying to gain influence on the Islamic world since they are not accepted in the decaying EU. Israel’s banal bargaining chips are irrelevant at this point. Good luck to you.

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    35. Binan001

      According to the University of Michigan from the Knights of Vartan Armenian Research Center, Israel officially condemned the Armenian Genocide as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin proclaimed on the floor of the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), on April 27, 1994, in answer to the claims of the Turkish Ambassador, that “It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember.”
      @Richard NYC, Israel didn’t formerly gain military cooperation with Turkey until 1996. And for the record military cooperation is not deemed a formal alliance; Turkey made similar military agreements with over a dozen states around the world. This “protective” stance Israel is taking in denying the Armenian Holocaust is illegitimate. Regardless of enemy states surounding Israel, NATO and the United States in particular has demonstrated ample allegiance to ensure the sovereignty of Israel. And I can hear the argument coming now that these allies aren’t geographically as strategic as Turkey, but I can say that the United States’ interest in Israel is one of the biggest intimidators for countries like Egypt and deter some major conflict. There has been no substantiated proof that Turkey would disintegrate military cooperation with Israel had they supported the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I think a disagreement of historical opinion has little presidence over physical aide such as the Israeli help for turkish earthquake vicitms this year.

      Reply to Comment
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