56 thoughts on “Netanyahu Poised to Appoint Lieberman Foreign Minister – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Interesting that Lieberman is NOT on an Iranian list of Israeli war criminals.

    Iran asks Interpol to arrest Israeli war criminals
    Sun, 01 Mar 2009 23:36:57 GMT

    Tehran’s Public Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi
    Interpol begins studying Iran’s request for the arrest of 15 senior Israeli officials over war crimes committed during the Gaza offensive.

    At a news briefing on Sunday, Tehran’s Public Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, said that Iran had referred the case to the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol), drawing on the organization’s charter and Israel’s violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    “Governments of 180 countries have received the information necessary for identifying the suspects,” he said.

    In a Monday statement, Iran’s judiciary said that it has asked Interpol to issue an international Red Notice security alert for the 15 Israeli officials who were involved in the 23-day Israeli offensive on Gaza.

    The statement added that the judiciary was also looking into complaints made against 100 other Israelis, with top military and government posts.

    In December 2008, Iran’s judicial body announced a decision to set up a court to investigate complaints, made by wounded Gazans against Israel and delivered to Iran by the Palestinian envoy.

    The judiciary said that it would be ready to try the implicated Israeli officials in absentia.

    “In the current week, we have completed our investigation of about 15 individuals who were among those criminals,” IRIB, Iran’s State Television, quoted Mortazavi as saying.

    “Based on our investigation and according to article 2 of the Interpol charter, we asked Interpol to arrest these suspects.”

    Mortazavi said the charges included war crimes, invasion, occupation, genocide and crimes against humanity.

    The Iranian prosecutor was referring to Israeli strikes that started on December 27 on the densely populated Palestinian coastal territory and did not end until it had claimed the lives of more than 1,330 Gazans, mostly civilians.

    Many international NGOs and human rights organizations, Palestinians wounded in the Gaza onslaught, more than 5,700 Iranian lawyers and attorneys in the Iranian Bar Association along with a large number of medics were also among those who filed complaints against Tel Aviv, Mortazavi added.

    The list of Israeli war criminals includes:

    1 Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
    2 Defense Minister Ehud Barak
    3 Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
    4 Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
    5 Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force Ido Nehoshtan
    6 Commander of the Gaza war — Operation Cast Lead — Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant
    7 Head of Military Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
    8 Commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade Lt. Col. Oren Cohen
    9 Deputy to the Givati Brigade Col. Ron Ashrov
    10 Commander of the Israel Paratroopers’ Brigade in Gaza Col. Hertzi Halevy
    11 Commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy Col. Yigal Slovik
    12 Commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade Lt. Col. Avi Blot
    13 Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, who served as a commander of the Golani infantry brigade’s 13th Battalion in Gaza
    14 Givati squad commander Col. Tomer Tsiter
    15 Brigade commander in Battalion 51 Col. Avi Peled

  2. I disagree with Richard.
    “the more extreme Netanyahu’s government the more quickly it is likely to fall.”

    This I think is wishful thinking. I hope I’m wrong.

    And this statement re Livni: “Tzipi Livni has navigated both the election and the post-election coalition dickering with dignity and principle.”
    Maybe you are referring only to how she conducted herself in the post election wrangling. To me that is unimportant. As far as the killing field of Gaza she was as bloodthirsty as any other Israeli politician.
    True, she mouths things like “two-state”, but she does this imo to appeal to what she considers her constituency, not out of any principle. She knows she cannot carve out a constituency to the *right* of Bibi.

    As to what the Obama administration will do, I predict Lieberman will be welcomed with open arms the same way he was welcomed a couple of years back by Ms. Clinton.

    I predict Obama will show as much backbone in dealing with Lieberman as he did vis a vis Israel when the killing slicing and dicing of Palestinian children was going on.

    1. I agree with you about Gaza. She was just as awful as Olmert & Barak. I truly admired her position during the Lebanon war & wish she had adhered to the same principles during the Gaza war.

      With a few exceptions, I think she also waged a reasonably principled campaign. And the fact that she hasn’t dickered w. Bibi & been tempted to join his wretched coalition is to her credit.

  3. Gotta agree with Ellen. Bibi and Lieberman will get away with anything they want. As long as the neocons and Israel Lobby continue to wield their influence over the U.S. Congress and executive (Obama), no one will lift a finger to aid the Palestinians. They’re road kill.

    Re Crimson Ghost: Good for Iran for taking this initiative. Now if only there were someone to bring similar charges against former officials in the Bush administration. Perhaps Iraq?

  4. I don’t think its fair to put Waldheim in with Haider and LePen as “racist thugs”, if that was what you meant by your inclusion of Lieberman in that group. Waldheim got in trouble because he hid his background in the Wehrmacht during WWII and may have known of, but not participated in, war crimes that were committed.

    His actions, policies and platform when he was the UN Secretary General, or the President of Austria do not earn him a place alongside Lieberman, Haider and LePen.

    As for Netanyahu, Lieberman, and Tzipi, I agree more with ellen’s take than I do with yours, sad to say. Not to bring up a sore subject(or one in a coma), but didn’t you likewise predict an early fall to the 2002 Sharon government?

  5. Gene said: “As long as the neocons and Israel Lobby continue to wield their influence over the U.S. Congress and executive (Obama), no one will lift a finger to aid the Palestinians.”

    Yes, and for those who don’t like this situation an opportunity arises! March 30 is a global day of action to Divest, Sanction and Boycott Israel. I urge you to hold an action in your town.
    Nothing will change unless we the people act.

    More info: http://www.bdsmovement.net

    For information on how to join the action day and how to develop BDS action in your country, organization and network, please contact the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) at: info@bdsmovement.net.

    See you in the street!


  6. Richard – your comment:

    ” If Netanyahu embarrasses himself and his Party enough, then the Israeli people may turn to a more centrist alternative for their next government that might conceivably advance the prospects for peace.”

    bears the taint of wishful thinking or, more likely, the whiff of nostalgia for days gone by when israelis – as a collective – could be considered sane.

    Unfortunately, many of even the most committed realists – including no small number of israel’s true friends – still think of that country – and its people – the way they once were – noisy rabble-rousers perhaps, but ultimately sensible. That is unfortunately no longer the case. Recent polls do not find a majority opinion even for that much maligned two-state solution within Israel. There was over 80% support for the gaza carnage, atrocities be damned. And between lieberman and the other – even more extreme right wing parties – over 20% of the voting public in israel can be considered firmly on the right. ADD to that the ultra-orthodox – many of whom embrace instinctively reactionary politics – and you get over 30%. Then there is Likud and there’s your 65% right there.

    The sad fact is – this IS NOT an aberration, but a TREND. Welcome to the new israel. If disillusioned with Nethaniahu, the likeliet scenario is a move further rightward rather than to the center. So I guess, I must also agree with ellen.

  7. hello richard:

    “…even expelling Israeli Arabs from Israel.” – he didn’t – he said swap israeli arab towns with Israeli settelments in the west bank…that is not expulsion.


    1. Not true. In his book, he uses the term “transfer.” Only recently, wishing to prettify his image has he stopped using such a term. Forcing Israeli citizens to transfer their home & nationality to another country is expulsion no matter how any reasonable person looks at it. You can be an apologist for his racism, but that doesn’t make you right.

  8. Though the US is the most important player on the world stage as far as Israel is concerned, it is not the only one. European attitudes, among others, have to be considered as well, was it only because in the international arena of the UN Europe can muster over thirty votes and the US just one. Well now, it can be said that over the years European attitudes have increasingly hardened towards Israel

    A right wing American explanation of this has been provided by Richard Baehr, political director of the conservative website American Thinker. Baehr mentions the following factors:

    Europe’s dependence on Middle East oil

    Europe’s rivalry with the US

    The growing number of Muslims and their militancy

    The small number of Jews, and their passivity

    The role of elites in Europe’s politics

    Europe’s long term disease of anti-Semitism, and

    The decline of Christianity in Europe.

    However, none of these factors explains why support for Israel in Europe has shifted from the political left to the right. Baehr ascribes great influence to Europe’s ‘coffeehouse philosophers’ who generally tend to be on the left. My own view is that this seems a typically American exaggeration of the influence of this category. But to the extent that he is right what he entirely fails to do is to explain why these coffeehouse philosophers were once in favour of Israel but are now increasingly against it.

    The reason for this ‘oversight’ is that B. doesn’t want to consider the possibility that Israel’s own policies, and the overall change in the nature of Israeli society, have led to this shift in attitude and that the Six Day War and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank and other territories were the watershed here.

    Israel was once regarded as a largely secular, egalitarian and plucky little nation in tune with European left wing ideals. After 1967 it became increasingly seen as a relic of the past in which Europe encountered its own ghosts: those of reactionary and suppressive colonialism.

    In Israel of course, where there seems to be a widespreal refusal to look into the mirror, European attitudes are almost exclusively explained from a revival of the old European anti-semitism. The difficulty that this anti-semitism is allegedly also found among people who, at the same time, oppose racialism has been resolved neatly by certain French Jewish intellectuals who have declared that anti-racism IS the new anti-semitism. Voila.

    The journal The Economist came up, a few years ago, with a rather telling argument against anti-semitism as an explanatory factor. It pointed out that in Central Europe anti-semitism is stronger than in the West – yet at the same time there is greater support for Israel there.

    The wisdom that has reached us from antiquity says that the gods inflict blindness on those whom they want to destroy. Israel might be in for a very hard time.

    1. What a great list of reasons! It omits the two most obvious factors of course which are: The blatantly egregious behaviour of Israel, and that the media coverage of it in Europe is more balanced although it still has a pronounced Israeli bias (at least in the UK).

    2. “support for Israel in Europe has shifted from the political left to the right.”
      I don’t understand what you mean – are you saying there is more support for Israel on the right than on the left?
      Why should that be a shift, or remarkable – that is what I would assume would be the case.
      Or is the point that anti-semitism traditionally would be found on the right?

      1. Yes, your assumption is correct, Israel’s diminishing support is more (though not completely) concentrated on the right. That is also where anti-semitism traditionally has traditionally been concentrated (see my comment regarding BNP below).

  9. Are you crazy? Olde European antisemitism?

    You dismiss this hatred as if it were arbitrary.

    Antisemitism today amongst young Arabs/Muslims in Europe is due to Israeli policy. As for the rest, I’d say it’s the same as well.

    But by and large, antisemitism is not as much a problem as anti-Arab/Islam sentiments. There are surveys conducted regularly that document how people feel toward these ‘others’.

    The fact that you characterize antisemitism as a disease is disturbing and hilarious at the same time.

    Antisemitism is not a disease. There is always some truth in all forms of discrimination. When these truths become the crux of an argument by the racist/bigot/antisemite to hate the ENTIRE group, then you have a problem.

    If you want to combat antisemitism then do so by engaging the people who hate irrationally (conflation).

    Although, that’s going to be difficult when 70% of American Jewry supported the Gaza massacre as well as 80-95% of Israeli Jews.

    Regardless, it’s idiotic to hate all Jews for the support of Israel by MOST Jews (at the least, American and obviously Israeli Jews).

    For the simple reason that, the hatred is not arbitrary. It’s coming from some place for some reason. The only irrationality is the conflation which is what racism/bigotry means. A gross generalization. This idea that a person is inherently this or that due to race/etc.

    But this Arab antisemitism is due to Zionism. It will likely never go away so long as Israel oppresses the Palestinians and uses the Arab world as a shooting range.

    1. 70% of American Jewry supported the Gaza massacre…

      This number is a fantasy & I challenge you to support it. In fact, a poll I wrote about here showed a heavy majority of Democrats opposed the Gaza war and since Jews are overwhelmingly Democratic it stands to reason that a significant plurality, if not majority actually opposed the war. It’s unfortunate that J Street or other Jewish peace groups did not commission any polling on this subject.

    2. LD, I think you may have misinterpreted Arie’s comments. I might have got it wrong but I read them as a criticism of Baehr’s analysis and conclusions.
      Unsurprisingly instances of anti-Semitism are strongly correlated with Israel’s behaviour. I will be very surprised if there has not been another spike around the latest Gaza atrocities. They are in a sense a rather crude and ill directed form of collective punishment and in that respect mirror many of Israel’s own actions such as the equally illegal blockade of Gaza.
      I don’t believe prejudices need any rational foundation, and I don’t think anti-Semitism is a rational response to Israeli excesses, indeed, quite the reverse. Anybody who is genuinely interested in, and sympathetic to, the plight of Palestinians will stamp on anti-Semitism as hard as they can. It is a potent weapon in Israel’s psychological armoury which it and its apologists have very adroitly exploited (as Baehr appears to be doing). However, there is a real risk in this exploitation of what is a real problem. At some point people begin to dismiss cries of “Wolf” as disguised attempts to suppress appropriate criticism of Israel. There is another uncomfortable fact in the calculus of grievance. If you package up all of the anti-Semitic acts in the whole world, they are dwarfed by the violence and discrimination meted out by Jewish soldiers and citizens on behalf of a specifically Jewish state and society (or conception of them, for example, in the case of the gruesome settlers of Hebron).
      With respect to Israel’s diminishing number of European supporters now being increasingly concentrated on the right: In the UK we have a racist party of the far right, the British National Party (BNP), which is clearly realigning itself as ‘unopposed’ to Israel.

  10. From the article:

    Survey Highlights

    • 94% expressed sympathy for Israel over Hamas; only 1% for Hamas (graph). By denomination breakdown: Orthodox – 98% expressed sympathy for Israel; Conservative – 96%; Reform – 91%.

    • 81% expressed the belief that Hamas was responsible for the escalation of the violence; only 14% held Israel responsible (graph). By denomination breakdown: Orthodox – 84% held Hamas responsible, Conservative – 88%, Reform – 77%; non-practicing 77%.

    • Asked whether Israel’s response to Hamas rockets was appropriate or excessive, probably the major theme that has appeared in international critiques of Israel, 79% said it was appropriate, 17% excessive (graph). By denomination breakdown: Orthodox – 88%, appropriate, Conservative – 80%, Reform – 80% and non-practicing – 71%

    • When asked about Israel’s right to self-defense versus the need to win the “hearts and minds” of the Arab world, 79% said that Israel’s responsibility to protect its citizens takes precedence (graph).

    “The survey findings strongly contradict those who disagreed with Israel’s actions against Hamas and claimed there was a sharp division in the American Jewish community,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

    “The vast majority of the Jewish community clearly understands and overwhelmingly supports Israel’s effort to stop Hamas’ constant rocket attacks and cripple its terrorism infrastructure. The Jewish community is an open community where different views are welcome. It was unfortunate that some seem to have an interest in exaggerating the level of disagreement on this issue.”

    ADL also explored American Jewish views of some of the key political issues facing Israel:

    • Two-thirds of those interviewed indicated that they supported Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the same number continues to support that position today (graph).

    • 63% support the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza while 32% oppose. On the question of who is doing more to bring peace to the region, Israel or the Palestinians, 91% said Israel and 4% said the Palestinians.

    “The findings on the political issues speak of a continuing strong center in the American Jewish community that wants a secure Israel but also strongly supports efforts toward peace,” Mr. Foxman said.

    1. This is not a credible survey. First, it was commissioned by the ADL. I wouldn’t trust anything they produce as far as I could throw it. A further problematic issue, the ADL is not known for producing opinion surveys and certainly not on American Jewish attitudes toward the I-P conflict. The pollster, Martilla Communications is also not known for producing surveys of American Jewish opinion. I’d like to know more about what questions were asked. If this was an American Jewish Committee survey then I might give it more credit since they do an annual survey which has some credibility. But it isn’t.

      Besides all that, I simply don’t believe the numbers are credible.

    2. I’m with Richard here. I would regard ADL stats in this context as dubious in the extreme. It would be useful to see the views of the Jewish community compared with the views of Americans in general. Given the source (ADL) and the biased media coverage I am a little surprised at the extent of apparent ‘dissent’ in some of the numbers.
      Given the strong correlation between how well informed one is and the degree of ones opposition to Israel’s policies and actions, I would expect American Jews to more ‘dissenting’ than the public as a whole since they are very likely to be more interested and thus better informed. That is not to say that I expect Jews are generally opposed, merely that I would unsurprised to find them leading, rather than trailing wider public opinion.

      1. Miles, I wish you are right. I think you are very generous to the American Jews. First, I believe that while most are indeed “more interested” in the I/P issue, that does not mean at all that they are “better informed”. I think most are actually brainwashed and are not interested to find out the truth since it is much more convenient to believe the propaganda. Once one realizes the extent of injustice perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinians, it makes ones life very miserable, “a constant headache” as the Machsom Watch founder once put it (not sure if the quote is 100% accurate.) Who needs this? Much easier to keep going on believing the MSM.
        Second, even among those who are “better informed”, do you think the tribal instinct wouldn’t be “on average” stronger than the instinct for seeking justice? I am not sure…

        1. I and many others I know who are active on this issue started out as an Israel supporter. The Sabra and Chatila massacres were pretty shattering, but at the time I believed in Israel’s sincerity in dealing with them. The real turning point for me was the election of Sharon whose career was carried on a sea of Palestinian blood. I’m willing to bet Israel has a lot fewer and a lot less comfortable supporters after the latest Gaza atrocities.
          The misery you refer to is what one experiences when faced with a difficult moral choice. It will continue to weigh heavily on ones conscience as long as one evades it. I know very few Jews outside this context, but all of them are made miserable by the inner conflict it causes. In contrast the (much larger number of) Jews I know involved in the struggle are obviously unhappy about the situation, but they have an inner peace and a genuine sense of security that is denied to their fellows who choose to remain in denial.
          There will always be those for whom group solidarity counts more, and those who are just racists or supremacists. The extent to which we resist such primitive urges is the extent to which we are civilised. Most people will take whatever course is easiest, it does not take many to lead them to accept what is right (or, unfortunately, what is wrong). I don’t dispute that those generally accepted as ‘leading’ American Jewry are (mis)leading them badly, but their task is harder today than it was yesterday, and it will be harder still tomorrow. Opposition to Israeli policy may be small, but it is growing consistently and there is virtually zero traffic in the opposite direction. I do not know how long this struggle will last but I am absolutely convinced it will succeed.
          There is a tipping point on issues like this which it is very hard to identify in advance. One day you wake up and find almost everyone is a convert, as I think happened over sanctions on South Africa (check out http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article3429.shtml which I have not read). It is quite easy in hindsight to identify Sharpeville as a pivotal event. I suspect the recent Gaza atrocities may well turn out to be such a turning point.
          South Africa’s journey out of Apartheid was immeasurably eased by the relatively small number of whites who opposed it. It is they that really built a future place for their fellows in a democratic South Africa. Likewise it is the relatively small number of principled Jews active in opposing injustice today who are really building the future for Jews in Israel.

          1. The misery you refer to is what one experiences when faced with a difficult moral choice. It will continue to weigh heavily on ones conscience as long as one evades it. […] In contrast the (much larger number of) Jews I know involved in the struggle are obviously unhappy about the situation, but they have an inner peace and a genuine sense of security that is denied to their fellows who choose to remain in denial.

            I am not sure it is always the case. People are very good at rationalizing things and bribing their conscience. On the other hand, those that do realize the extent of the injustice and the need to do something to stop it, will always agonize about doing not enough. For example, I wish I could brag about doing anything even approximating what the woman in this video is doing, but even she is tortured about inadequacy of her efforts. In short, from my own experience I believe it is fairly easy to suppress the call of conscience.

            There will always be those for whom group solidarity counts more, and those who are just racists or supremacists.

            I don’t entirely agree with this. It is a topic for a deeper discussion, but I believe that fear of anti-Semitism plays an enormous role in Jews being too sensitive to criticism of Israel. You’d have to grow within an average Jewish home to appreciate it, maybe. I believe that a lot of Jews, especially of the older generations, still see the world as a very hostile place. For example, one of the first reactions to news like those of Madoff scam is to think of the possible anti-Semitic backlash, of how the news will be perceived by the gentiles. Thus any criticism of Israel is automatically seen as giving fodder to anti-Semites. One has to step over a psychological barrier to free oneself from such a mindset and it is not easy for a lot of people. So, it is not about people considering the Palestinians as inferior or any other racist motivations, but rather a defensive reaction. Again, this is a deep topic, Phil Weiss tackles it very often but even he, I believe, never fully explored it.

  11. Now, show me some surveys that were also aimed at American Jewry’s opinion on the Gaza massacre that may contradict my source.

    1. I told you I wish J Street had commissioned a poll, but they didn’t. But it stands to reason that since Jews are largely liberal Dems & Dems overall opposed the Gaza war, that Jews did too–albeit by a smaller number than Dems overall did. This is simply self-evident. Even when it comes to Israel, Jews follow a line that adheres closely to Democratic values.

  12. The point of my letter was indeed that Baehr refused to look at the most important explanatory factor: Israel’s own horrific actions.

    Anti-semitism was originally found mostly on the right side of politics but now some conspicuous folk there see a common interest with Israel in anti-Muslim policies. The Dutch maverick politician Geert Wilders, who is an anti-Muslim agitator, even claims to be in love with Israel.

  13. Richard, American Jews tend to be liberal – yes I agree with this conclusion. However, that is not the case when it comes to Israel. When it comes to Jewish issues (antisemitism/etc.).

    Chomsky is a true Jewish liberal. But he’s in the microscopic minority of the larger community.

    But if there is no survey that we can 100% trust (I too do not put full confidence in the ADL’s poll) then there’s no point in continuing this exchange.

  14. Richard – do you have a source for that? I googled ‘Avigdor Lieberman convicted’ (plus other variations) and the only thing that came up was this piece.

    1. This doesn’t tell the story in any detail, but it does give you the outline:

      Yesterday, a Knesset committee lifted his parliamentarian’s immunity, which means he can be tried over allegations of child beating. Today, he will join Israel’s Cabinet.

      …The son of a store manager, he emigrated to Israel from Moldova – then part of the USSR – as a student and soon signed up with the right-wing Likud party. Years later, he was ushered out of obscurity by Benjamin Netanyahu, who, when he was Prime Minister, eventually made him chief-of-staff. Like his mentor, Mr Lieberman’s stint at the top was clouded by corruption allegations. But they came to nothing. The same fate may befall the current allegations…that he beat several children whom he believed had hit his son.

      This tells a bit more:

      In 1999, one of his sons was apparently beaten by a neighbor’s son, who consequently was beaten (some say also bitten) by the Israel Beytenu leader.

    1. He was charged with child beating. The articles I linked didn’t say whether he was convicted or not. I understood that he was.

      He is a child beater. That’s all I or most any other reasonable person needs to know.

  15. I think only you could put me in a position where I am forced to defend Avigdor Lieberman, but there you go.
    If he hasn’t been convicted of child beating, then he isn’t a child beater. So if you have no evidence of him being convicted, you are libelling him (again, an extraordinary achievement of which you must be one of the few people capable). Or do these standards not apply when we are appalled by the politics of the accused? Notions of innocent before proven guilty are particularly important when dealing with people whose politics we despise.

    1. you could put me in a position where I am forced to defend Avigdor Lieberman

      Nobody put you in a position where you’re “forced” to defend Yevgeny. You do so willingly. But lie down with dogs & you’ll end up with fleas.

      The main question for me is not: was he convicted of child beating? It is: did he beat up children? Millions of people do horrible things & are never convicted of them. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. It only means they’re not guilty in a strictly legal sense.

      He beat up those children. Whether he spent time in prison is immaterial to me. The children can attest to what happened and did. I don’t need a court of law & jury verdict to know that Lieberman is not only capable of this heinous act, but committed it. If I’m libelling him I invite you to inform him of that and suggest that he sue me for it. I’d like nothing more than to have a day in court with Yevgeny.

      And btw, I don’t necessarily see you as the best judge of what is or is not libel. You might find that hard to believe but there you go.

  16. “It only means they’re not guilty in a strictly legal sense”

    At least we’re clear that you don’t believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty, at least not for everyone. How does this work? Are only people you despise exempt, or are there other exemptions too?

    As for the issue of me ‘defending’ Lieberman; I am simply saying that the principle of innocent until proven guilty should apply to him as well. If he is exempt, why won’t I be exempt the next day? Of course, it may very well be that – for various reasons – justice did not run its course in this case. But sometimes we have to bite our lip and accept the imperfections of a justice system; its certainly better than abandoning the principle of innocent until proven guilty, which you seem all too happy to do.

    It is a shame that you don’t occasionally let a spirit of agnosticism filter through your arguments. There are some things you can’t know, even in Seattle.

    1. we’re clear that you don’t believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty

      No, for the 100th time with you, that’s not what I wrote or believe. Lieberman deserves his day in court and for legal purposes if he was not convicted he should not go to prison or be considered a convicted felon. But there is a distinction you’re refusing to understand between whether an event actually happened and whether a court finds to its satisfaction that a crime happened. You seem deliberately tin-eared to the distinction which I think most other reasonable people can understand.

      Are you really suggesting that saying someone has been convicted of a crime when in reality they haven’t is not libellous?

      Once again, I reject your terms. Have you proven he was not convicted? When you do, please let me know.

      Libel is a legal term. YOu clearly don’t know U.S. libel law. I don’t want to start giving you a tutorial. But the answer is yes, that is what I believe.

    1. It is not necessarily libellous to accuse someone of a criminal act of which they have been acquitted. Criminal culpability must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas civil cases such as libel are decided on the balance of probability. eg OJ Simpson. If I was Richard I wouldn’t be sweating about Lieberman suing.

      1. If I was Richard I wouldn’t be sweating about Lieberman suing.

        I can always dream, can’t I? Libel can be claimed only when someone KNOWLINGLY says something is false. And if the person is a very contentiouis public figure the standard is even lower. Since I actually believed he’d been convicted, then what I wrote, even were I wrong, could not be libel (according to U.S. law).

  17. Now look who’s getting into semantics. You clearly stated above “previously convicted of physical support.” Now you’ve backtracked. You’re saying that, actually, maybe he was never physically convicted (how is it that you are able to write that people are physically convicted, and then call on your readers to show that it’s not true, which – incidentally – it doesn’t seem to be, at least not according to a cursory internet search, which shows no evidence whatsoever of any trial for the alleged offence, let alone a conviction), but we all understand what he did.

    I think what you meant to say is this: “I made a mistake when I wrote he was convicted of physical assault. I meant to say that there is strong evidence that he assaulted some children, but – probably for political reasons – the case never made it to trial.” A shame that you don’t seem to be capable of making simple revisions to what you write.

    1. Lieberman was convicted of hitting a minor and paid a 17,500 shekel fine.

      it doesn’t seem to be, at least not according to a cursory internet search, which shows no evidence whatsoever of any trial for the alleged offence, let alone a conviction

      I disagree with Amir’s views even more than with your own. Yet you both live in Israel and he knew the truth and you were satisfied with your “cursory internet search” that Lieberman was never convicted.

      I don’t want an apology. But I would like you to tell us what, if anything, you’ve learned from your mistake.

      At the very least, the next time you want to accuse me of being wrong about something do better than a “cursory internet search.”

  18. It pains me to agree with RS, but he is correct. Lieberman was convicted of hitting a minor and paid a 17,500 shekel fine.

    1. Amir: I have to say that you didn’t have to do that & while we disagree on much, I appreciate yr forthrightness in telling us the truth about this.

      Needless to say the idea of a convicted child beater running Israel’s foreign policy turns my stomach.

  19. Richard – I stand corrected. I often make mistakes (to err is to be human and all that and all that), and when I do I acknowledge them – for example in the email you sent me regarding white phosphorous. To the best of my knowledge you never acknowledge when you are mistaken, and I can easily show you example of our recent conversations (for example the accusation that I claimed to know what Palestinians feel etc).

    1. What really ticks me off about yr response is that you spoke with certainty as if you were right. You did not acknowledge that I might be right. I, on the other hand conceded that since I could only verify the incident but not the conviction that I might not be right about the conviction (but that I still believed he had committed the beating). You doubted the original reader source on which basis I said he had been convicted. You thought I was wrong. You did a cursory internet search & assumed that because you could not locate proof, that you were right. I think you’re a smug self-righteous know it all. And one who “often makes mistakes” but almost always believes it’s the other guy who’s wrong.

      Regarding the white phosphorus use being a violation of the laws of war…to yr credit you didn’t accuse me of being wrong about it. You only asked for proof that I was right which I succeeded in securing.

      You didn’t learn anything fr. this did you?

  20. LOL. Suddenly I’m an authority worth quoting on this blog to prove a point. What, no need for PROOF Richard, or even a link? You’re just going to believe me?
    Well as long as you value my knowledge so much you should know it was the Hamas that broke the truce first.

    1. When you reluctantly confirm something I believe then I don’t need a link. I know it’s true. Otherwise, you’d never have acknowledged I was right. But I’d love to see a link & have e mailed several Israelis I know to ask for one.

      As for Hamas, nice try. I said we don’t agree about much (except Lieberman’s conviction) & Hamas is one of those big areas of disagreement.

  21. At no stage did I speak with certainty. I merely pointed out that you had no evidence that he was convicted. You acknowledged that yourself. The fact that Amir produced evidence doesn’t change the fact that you were happy to write he was convicted without being sure of the fact himself.
    As for “smug self-righteous know it all”, does that not break your comment rules about ad hominems, or do they not apply to the blog author?

    1. At no stage did I speak with certainty.

      That’s bull and you know it. You were certain I was wrong. And you allowed a “cursory internet search” to convince you I was. You wanted me to be wrong. You wanted me to be wrong so much you could practically taste it. And yet I wasn’t and you were.

      Maybe next time you’ll research yr position a little better.

      BTW, you’re ignoring the fact that I specifically said that a commenter here had posted that he was convicted of child beating. To say I had “no evidence” is false. I had the word of a trusted reader whose been right about many of these issues in the past.

      When you accuse me of being wrong about something & you’re wrong then I get to call you all those things. Next time, if you’re more careful then you won’t be wrong & I won’t have to use those terms.

  22. “You were certain I was wrong”

    Hmmm. Why, then, did I write the following?

    “When was Lieberman convicted of assault?”
    “Richard – do you have an assault for that?”
    “You said he was convicted.”

    You then said “The main question for me is not: was he convicted of child beating,” and from that point on the discussion continues on the basis that you aren’t sure that he was convicted, until Amir comes up with the evidence. So I was only sure because you seemed to accept my point. Had you backed up your original writings like you demand all and sundry who question you, none of this dialogue would ever have taken place.

    I have looked back over the thread and can’t find any reference to this trusted commenter. Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

    As for your explanation of the ad hominem, it would have delighted Orwell (if you’ll forgive the cliche). Please will you add to the rules that ad hominems are acceptable when dealing with someone who accuses someone else of being wrong but is in fact wrong themselves.

    While we’re on the topic of learning from all this, I think you should look back on what Peter D wrote a few threads ago before you make your reply.

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