Born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union, Mr. Lieberman also commands the loyalty of many of the one million Israelis who immigrated here from the former Soviet Union and tend toward rightist nationalist politics.Mr. Lieberman…is highly pessimistic about democracy’s evolving in the Arab world…
If Avigdor Lieberman is indicted and forced to leave the government and possibly Israeli politics, he is threatening to take Israeli democracy out of the Middle East where it isn’t appreciated anyway. Unlike Herzl who suggested Uganda, Lieberman can think of no better place for Israeli democracy to take root than his native Moldova, where there’s reputed (at least by Lieberman) to be a shortage of bouncers and corrupt politicians. Vladimir Putin has even promised to make the Prodigal Son and alleged Russian spy most cozy if he returns to his Slavic roots.
In fact, I can just imagine the Exodus of those 1-million former Soviet Jews out of Israel and back to the Promised Land of Moldova led, of course, by that Slavic Moses, Lieberman himself.
Seriously, I can’t think of a more welcome development than Lieberman being indicted. The only better news would be Lieberman convicted.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that if this brings new elections that it will mean anything different for Israel. If it wasn’t Lieberman mouthing far-right proto-fascist rants it would be someone else. Israeli politics will not be changed or made better by Lieberman’s passing from the scene.
Israeli politicians are corrupt. Some are more corrupt than others. A few even are not corrupt at all. But that’s usually because they have no ministry or patronage machine with which to dispense government largesse. Most of Israel’s most powerful political leaders have been suspected, charged or convicted of financial or moral corruption including Sharon, Olmert, Katsav, Ramon, Weitzman, and now Lieberman. The latter is nothing special or unusual. He’s rather true to form.
IF ISRAEL HAD NO OLIGARCHS, how would Israeli politics be different?
How would it go in USA if the legalized bribery known as campaign finance contribution were made (retrospectively) illegal? 100%?
How I long for a system in which corporations (and other non-single-human-person entities) were forbidden to act or spend for political purposes (lobbying, campaigns, etc.) (except parties, campaigns, and PACs) — AND — there were ALSO a per-person annual maximum on ALL political spending.
In such a world, politicians would have to seek support from (GASP) THE PEOPLE, Oligarchy would have to find another way (probably indirect bribery and the revolving door), but substantial power would go to THE PEOPLE.
And the people (unlike the very rich and corporations) are able (psychologically, morally, if no better intellectually, to tackle GLOBAL WARMING and NATIONAL BANKRUPTCY and other long-term threats.
It is troubling that Richard refers to Lieberman’s “Slavic roots.” It is not that I sense racism as such in the description, but that Lieberman’s “racial” roots, if allow for such, are “Jewish” not Slavic. So I don’t know the point of the desriptor here and ask for clarification. I’m missing something I’m sure.
Richard Silverstein says
I was referring, perhaps too broadly, to the fact that Lieberman is considered by many inside Israel as an agent of the Russians with allegiance to it as much as to Israel.
so this is a response to “ex-israeli” as well?
“that Slavic Moses” ??
If it was anyone else I would say it smells like racism. But, you, Richard – nah, that’s impossible, you’re above that.
Lieberman left Moldova at the age of 20, so using constantly this Moldova, Russia and slavic “card” to describe his charter and behavior in Israel is a bit strange. Most of his life he has lived in Israel where he studied and worked. In Israel Lieberman joined the extreme Jewish nationalistic circles. Not the pan-Slavic or Russian nationalistic “clubs”. Naturally Lieberman as a good marketing man and populist did built his populist party around Russian immigrants using Israeli/Jewish extreme nationalism (not Russian) and different other sosio-economic attracts which this group wants.
Moldova is actually not Russia nor a Slavic country. There is an ongoing controversy whether Moldovans are a fully fledged ethnic group or a subgroup of the Romanian ethnic group. So the Slavic Moses doesn’t fit very good to Lieberman.
Israelis, even the moderate ones, want to explain that the racism of Israel and Yisrael Beiteinu with the Russian link. They forget to explain how a small (in Soviet Union) pariah (claimed by themselves) religious group suddenly become very racist when they landed in Israel. Israel was and is without “Russians” extremely racist besides against all Non-Jews also against the various Jewish subgroups. It seems that Jews in Israel hate a bit more “outsiders” they hate each others. What would happen to Israeli Jewish society without that all the time marketed outside threat?
Israeli Russian Jews are not racist because they were born and lived in Soviet Union. Some of them became extreme nationalist in Israel because Israel and Zionism gave them a perfect growing ground for that. Equally could be noticed that among settlers are many American Jews. But could we say that settlers are racist, violent and extreme because they are Americans?
You forget Hirshzon, our well-beloved Minister of Finance who was convicted of embezzlement.
More to the point – Lieberman does indeed appeal to immigrants from former USSR, but it’s not a 1 to 1 correspondence. Many Israelis have voted for him hoping for political change or from security concern (it may sound silly, but that’s life).
If he leaves the political scene there are going to be changes. We’ll have to wait and see what they are.
Daniel F. says
“Israeli politicians are corrupt”
Unfortunate, and as much as I hate to do so I must agree with you Richard.
Corruption and nepotism are becoming increasingly prevalent and worst still accepted in Israeli society.
“If you want a job in this or that ministry you need to know somebody” …..is a common retort to somebody who idly esquires about certain public service jobs.
When my son was in the elitist Flight School,twenty to thirty percent of the other candidates parents read like a list of who’s who in Israeli society.
In the judicial system there are blatant irregularities that when reported are brushed off.
Can this end well,I think not!
They are corrupted by the power to steal, push people around, and tell lies. In giving Israel the nod again and again, the world has created this monstrosity. It’s not “Lords of the Land” but “Lords of Somebody Else’s Land.”
It will be like getting Capone for taxes, but I’ll take it
Zhu Bajie says
I’ve occasionally tried to imagine him as mayor or Birobidzhan.