Avigdor Lieberman, the man no witness will testify against, had an unfortunate experience on the way to the ballot box. He discovered that his perennial pool of voters would not be sufficient this time around. And then, relying on the public’s short memory, he reinvented himself as a champion of human rights, turning his back on the nation-state law while posing as a hero of the secular.
Lieberman was one of the people who promoted the nation-state law. He was absent when the Knesset voted on it – he’s not one of the greatest attendees at the legislature. Perhaps he was holding one of his mysterious meetings in Minsk again, but four members of his faction, Yisrael Beiteinu, were there, voting for this law. How can one put this? The lawmakers Lieberman brings to the Knesset are not renowned for their independence.
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Lieberman is one of the most racist members of the Knesset. He built his career on the spread of hatred toward Arab citizens of this country. People forget that his plans included the transfer of “The Triangle,” an area south of Haifa where many Arab cities and towns are located, to the Palestinian Authority in order to deny Israeli Arabs their right to vote. They forget that he waged a heated campaign in favor of the death penalty for terrorists, as well as another campaign dubbed “No citizenship without loyalty,” which overturns the required demand made of a democracy: The loyalty of a state to its citizens before asking for their loyalty.
He also touted the slogan “Only Lieberman speaks Arabic,” indicating that only he knows how to deal with Arabs. He assumed the post of defense minister after standing alongside Elor Azaria, a soldier who was convicted of shooting to death a terrorist who had already been incapacitated. Lieberman asked that Azaria be pardoned after he was convicted in court. As defense minister he assailed the Israel Defense Forces, which was too gentle to his liking.
And now they want us to believe that he’s seen the light. A choir of angels came down and caused him to understand that he is in fact opposed to the nation-state law. Speaking of miracles, a virgin birth is more likely to have happened. Lieberman describes himself as the knight rushing to defend the rights of secular people. It seems that any lie can pass for the truth these days. During his 22 years in the Knesset, he spoke loftily against the ultra-Orthodox, but only during election campaigns. Later, he sat with them in the same governments. He and Shas leader Arye Dery would rustle horses together, but come election time they’d pose as rivals.
Israel has a large number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are defined by the Chief Rabbinate as people with no recognized religious status. Lieberman has repeatedly pledged to grant them status, each time throwing them under the bus in the end.
In fact, in his 22 years as a lawmaker, no one can remember any achievement that he could claim as his own, any easing he could bring to his persecuted voter base. In deeds, this Lilliputian is not that strong, unless it’s a matter of evading justice. From Israel’s ambassador in Belarus, himself a Lieberman appointee, Lieberman received inside information on an investigation being conducted against him and somehow managed to elude that one too, thanks to the rightfully-forgotten attorney general at the time, Yehuda Weinstein.
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And lo and behold, we’re facing another election, with Lieberman performing his usual shtick. He checks who people hate this time around, whether it’s the Arabs or the ultra-Orthodox, and crafts his campaign accordingly. This time, he’s going for the ultra-Orthodox. The secular people following him are drooling, fools in thrall to power.
Lieberman’s seasoned voters already know him, which is why he has to pose as a liberal. He’s even trying to pander to the LGBT community, hoping it will forget that he opposed holding gay pride parades. It wasn’t that long ago – only two years back.
If we cherish life, we need a functioning memory and an ability to throw Lieberman where he belongs, onto the dustbin of history.