Only Lieberman Can Rise to the Occasion and Bring Peace

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Foreign Minister Lieberman at press conference in Knesset, March 25, 2014.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

It makes sense to think that the person who needs to take charge of things is Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. When all around him other top officials have gone off the rails — each for his own reason - Lieberman is the only one not guided by arrogance, euphoria and irresponsibility. He is the only one in the vicinity who understands time is critical for making brave and far reaching decisions.

It is a shame he is only foreign minister. Because based on his recent statements it appears he could have formulated a creative solution to the impasse in negotiations with the Palestinians. Or maybe he would have acted earlier and prevented things from deteriorating as they have. Or at least he would not have helped the talks deteriorate, as you might suspect the quickest draws in the West have done. It is also not unfounded to assume that Lieberman would have maneuvered properly on Ukraine and Iran. Instead of gossiping with Leonardo DiCaprio in Malibu, he would have shared secrets with Valdimir Putin in Odessa.

Lieberman is the one, who should get support from anyone placing themselves to the left of the center — and even to the right of center. That's the group that supported (mistakenly, in my opinion) Ariel Sharon in his day, as a statesman capable of maneuvering about the entire political arc - not just holding onto power, or promoting himself - in order to save the country.

To get the talks moving and because the moment of truth has already come (and we need to decide if we are moving toward another round of bloodshed, or to a logical agreement), every person on the left who wants to be realistic, and not just right, must ask themselves: “Okay, how do we get out of the trap of justice that never arrives, as opposed to the reality that hits us in the face?”

I draw encouragement from Lieberman’s threatening countenance, which some describe as “horror-inspiring” in order be to be repelled by it, since it expresses the darkness that many of us feel. He has the correct dosages of scary, merry and ironic in him. And no less important, it seems he knows how to look at himself objectively. This is one of the jobs of a political leader: Not to raise false hopes, but to identify with the emotion that wells up from beneath the surface, and to reflect it.

Instead of repeating to oblivion the same mantras, chewing up unrealistic slogans until they become disgusting, or speaking time and time again the magic words “Jewish state,” Lieberman long ago to threw down the gauntlet. He offered the Israeli Arab residents of the Triangle to include them inside the borders of a Palestinian state when one is established; and lately, as Haaretz reported this week, he has pushed that idea in an attempt to move the talks forward.

This is an impressive step since it challenges Israeli Arabs on the sincerity of their aspirations for an independent Palestinian state. It separates the truth from the rhetoric and at the same time also tests the intentions of our dogmatic left.

To confront the truth has been Lieberman’s specialty for a long time. When the moment of truth comes - you can be confident he will do it with greater skill than Sharon, and with greater honesty and less disorder. That is how a worthy statesman must act, to challenge and provoke, and that is what we have needed for a long time: A leader who is neither fossilized nor ideological, one who is capable of seeing reality for what it is. Not left and not right, but a leader who thinks outside the box. Believe or not, the candidate is Lieberman.

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