Senior Israeli Diplomat Quits in Disgust, Can No Longer Support Government Policies
An Israeli diplomat with over 30 years of foreign service experience has quit his job in disgust, saying he can no longer defend or interpret to a foreign audience the policies of his government under the leadership of Bibi Netanyahu or Avigdor Lieberman. Ilan Baruch, a decorated IDF veteran, served in numerous major diplomatic postings including stints as ambassador to South Africa and the Philipines. Several months ago, after one too many stiff diplomatic cables from Lieberman chiding his colleagues for braying insufficiently loudly on behalf of Israel, Baruch decided he’d had enough. He put in his papers and retired though he was not scheduled to do so for several more years.
He wrote a letter to his colleagues in which he noted a few of reasons for ending his career prematurely:
“Over the past two years the political and diplomatic messages by the state’s leaders, which have grown more pointed, have infuriated me and given me no rest. I find it difficult to represent them and explain them honestly.”
…Baruch said there is a great deal of frustration brimming below the surface at the Foreign Ministry.
The veteran diplomat explained the genesis of his discontent:
…He sensed an initial warning sign, he added, the day Lieberman took office as foreign minister and gave a speech in which he rejected the possibility of peace with the Palestinians.
“Lieberman completely denied [Israel’s] role in the failure of the peace process,” Baruch said. “The outcome is not good and it is not only because of the Palestinians’ conduct.”
Baruch is not alone is his “disgust” at the course Israel’s diplomatic efforts are taking:
“It has become impossible to explain Israel to others these days,” one ambassador said. “There is no clear policy and it is very difficult to respond to international criticism.”Another ambassador said: “The diplomatic impasse is dangerous to the State of Israel, and it doesn’t seem as if the prime minister has a solution in the form of a diplomatic initiative. Under such circumstances, the international community will simply force a solution on us.”
It is always tempting in circumstances like this to read too much into the courageous act of one individual. One wants to see a groundswell of opposition and hopes that this is but the beginning. But the truth is that Israel’s Occupation regime is entrenched. There are many others in the system waiting for their chance to replace someone of Baruch’s high rank. His leaving may only be a blip on the screen.
Nevertheless, it is a cri de coeur that some will hear and heed both within the foreign ministry and perhaps outside it.
17 thoughts on “Senior Israeli Diplomat Quits in Disgust, Can No Longer Support Government Policies – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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A man of honour, hopefully not the only one in Israels diplomatic service? Where are their voices…
can his letter be related to the fact that he didn’t get the job he wanted. according to the article he applied for the position of the ambassador in Cairo a year ago and was passed over.
“Ilan Baruch’s statements are ridiculous in light of the fact that Cairo is one of the capitals in which the presentation of the policies of Israel’s government is most important,” a source in Lieberman’s bureau said. “This proves that he left because he did not get the appointment. He has been in negotiations for six months over the conditions of his retirement,” the source added
Come on… do you honestly think Israel’s positions are easy to explain? Not to anyone who isn’t a right wing Israeli.
No i do not find the Israeli policies easy to explain, but those same policies didn’t prevent him from applying for the position in Cairo a year ago. so what all of the sudden he remembered that actually he was unable to explain the Israeli position ? he didn’t know that when he applied to the position in Cairo ?
had he gotten the letter you think he would have written that letter ?
You neglected to mention Baruch’s humility in saying that someone better suited to be Israel’s hasbarist mouthpiece in Cairo was chosen in his place. I added the “hasbarist mouthpiece.” Baruch didn’t say that. He merely, & quite humbly conceded that someone better suited to the job was chosen. Does that sound like sour grapes to you? To me it sounds like a decent principled man.
This text has to be read from right to the left, right?
Yes, and I’m sorry I quoted the Hebrew source. The translated article is up:
i do not get one thing, It’s the same Bibi and the Same Liberman so what did the ambassador based his hope on ? miracles ? personally i don’t buy that statement.
Maybe that’s not why he quit, but it’s what believes, which is what’s important. As a senior diplomat he felt that he was unable to back up Israel’s policies with reason. It reminds me of how the Mavi Marmara incident gradually became more and more difficult to explain to foreigners when I tried.
Yes, the quote is something I paraphrased below in which Baruch admits that he applied for the Cairo job but that a candidate more suitable than he was chosen who is doing good work.
He and some colleagues seem reasonably principled men. In the circumstances. But such circumstances, and for 20 years at least? How long does it take for the signal to get through?
“Under such circumstances, the international community will simply force a solution on us.”
Are we a bit disingenuous here? This is not new. Madrid was 1991.
However, what MIGHT BE new is ACTUAL SIGNS that the I/C would actually break free of its lethargy/submission-to-USA/whatever and ACTUALLY TAKE BDS-like steps to compel Israel either to end the occupation fully or to reduce it to a (legal) military occupation by removing all settlers, dismantling all settlement buildings and the wall, returning confiscated land to its owners, and ending the siege of Gaza.
Perhaps signs of this sort of thing have started these ambassadors to reassess their previous readiness to represent Israel’s make-no-concessions governments over 20 years.
While I applaud his move, why did it take until now for him to decide he can no longer explain Israel to others? The current regime in Israel is not significantly different in its policies and actions from previous governments. The only real difference is that this government is less interested in trying to put any kind of cosmetic coverup over what it is doing.
@ Sh irin:
“…The current regime in Israel is not significantly different in its policies and actions from previous governments. The only real difference is that this government is less interested in trying to put any kind of cosmetic coverup over what it is doing…”
This creates an image of the worst Israeli government ever, and a degression of international assistance, called “growing antisemitism” worldwide…
First, what kind of a word is “degression”? I’ve heard this only once before, from a supervisor at a past workplace — and he wasn’t a paragon of literacy. Certainly, it doesn’t appear in my dictionary. Could you mean a “decline”?
Second, and far more to the point: What we see here is, by all accounts, in fact the worst Israeli government ever. That regime, and the noxious policies emanating from it, more than suffice to explain the loss of international support without resorting to the perennial bogey of anti-Semitism.
In short: With rare exceptions, Israel is despised for what it does, not for who lives there.
Thanks for bringing this to my mind! My mistake! I’m not used to communicate in proper english…
I had to look in my Duden diccionary to find out that “degression” seems of french origins. It means indeed “decline” and is commonly used in german language in economic and scientific areas. I tend to mix up english, french an spanish sometimes… it’s the age!
Well, it is not up to me to judge the israeli government, but sometimes i’m afraid you might be right?
By the way, ours is also a mess :-((
But at least you can be proud of israels legal or justice system! There is a recent, bad example of ours:
The state prosecutor in the regional appeal court in Munich, Germany enterd a plea of guilty for the 90 years old Ucrainian (and ex-US-citizen) John Demjanjuk for his asstistance in the killing of about 30.000 Jews in the KZ Sobibor as a KZ guard and former russian POW.
The prosecutor plead for 6 (six!) years in jail, that makes a good dozen jews per day! 40 years ago, german KZ guards in their best years had been spoken free from similar charges because they argued, they had to follow orders or risk their own life.
Greetings from Germany, almabu.