Monday, October 23, 2006

Avigdor Lieberman Accepted into Israeli Government

What might it mean for U.S. foreign policy that far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman has been taken into Ehud Olmert's Israeli government? Pseudo-conservatives in the U.S. share "tough", "hard-line" views with Israel's right wing. Indeed, some prominent American pseudo-conservative hard-liners are very much associated with Israel's hard right and share very much the same kind of views. Three influential Bush 43 administration figures actually wrote an advisory document for Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996, the Clean Break paper. These three were: Richard Perle, who was initially chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, Douglas Feith, who was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and David Wurmser, who was the Middle East Adviser to US Vice President Dick Cheney. A careful reading of the Clean Break paper reveals that these three advocated hard-line policies to incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu and that the document is written as though the authors saw themselves as Zionist Israelis as well as American citizens. The latter impression "prompted Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar to warn that Feith and Perle [and Wurmser] 'are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments … and Israeli interests'." (See "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", p. 33).

Avigdor Lieberman, who was dismissed from Sharon's government in 2004 because he strongly opposed the withdrawal from Gaza, will be made "a deputy prime minister responsible for 'strategic threats' against Israel, a portfolio that would include monitoring Iran, which Israel regards as its most dangerous enemy", said today's New York Times. In an April 17, 2006 article in the Jerusalem Post, "Lieberman: We must act against Iran", Lieberman was quoted as saying "Israel needs to mostly act, and to talk less." The article went on to say: "While Israel officially continues to back diplomatic efforts to stop Iran's race to the bomb, the IDF and particularly the IAF, have been working on assault plans for an attack against the Iranian nuclear sites. With numerous sites spread throughout the country, the attack, officers have admitted, would be difficult although feasible."

So Mr. Lieberman is welcomed into the weakened Olmert government to shore it up thereby pushing the official government that much further to the right. Mr. Lieberman will be put in charge of how to deal with Iran about which he has already made very aggressive statements. This is similar to the position of pseudo-conservative William Kristol in the U.S. who recently advocated "a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities"; see Why Pseudo-Conservatives are not "Conservative".

No comments: