Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s deputy prime minister is no shrinking violet. In fact, his past as a club bouncer with reputed ties to the Israeli Russian mob have led to long-standing police investigations of his financial links to it.
He has the mouth to prove his gangster connections. Here are a few of his bon mots:
* “At 8am we’ll bomb all the [Palestinian] commercial centers…at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations…at two we’ll bomb their banks.”
* Ha’aretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.
* “They [Israeli Arabs] have no place here. They can pack their bags and go to hell.”
* “World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].”
To most Israeli Jews these wouldn’t be so bad since after all he only slurred Arabs. Now, however he’s smeared Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace activist group led by long-time iconoclast Uri Avnery, by calling its members “Nazi capos” in a Channel 1 TV interview.
The group stirred Lieberman’s wrath because it urged a boycott of Israeli musicians who performed at a 40th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank. One of the performances happened in Lieberman’s hometown of Nokdim and he apparently took personal offense at the call to shun the performers.
Since Israeli peace activists are held in only slightly higher repute than Arabs in Israel, it’s doubtful how much fallout there will be among the general populace. But Gush Shalom and Yesh Gvul, the slander victims, are considering lodging a libel complaint against the minister. Ben Gurion University professor Neve Gordon filed a similar complaint against Israeli-American extremist Steven Plaut and won a financial judgment against him. In Israel, unlike the U.S., abusing someone by labeling them a Nazi is an actionable offense.
Considering Lieberman’s sleazy past history, it’s questionable what impact such a suit might have on his political career. But you just never know with these things. It might have some impact and help people realize that someone who could use such a Kahanist slur perhaps might not be the best person in whom to entrust Israel’s policy toward Iran.
I also have a personal interest in this subject as I’ve been slimed and physically threatened with similar invective numerous times by Jewish cyber bullies.