One-time friends say Bibi is coward, childish, irresponsible
John Kerry’s new best friend, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman version 2. Photo by AP
Netanyahu fights with Obama at Israel’s expense
Netanyahu may be allowed to base his future and welfare on one private American, but not the future, security and welfare of State of Israel
By Amnon Abramovich. Ynet Op-Ed
February 12, 2014
Ariel Sharon used to recount, with a bit of mockery, how the late Menachem Begin, when he received a phone call from President Ronald Reagan, would get up from his seat, stand up in the room, lean on his stick and talk to the president. Sharon would tell him: Sit down please, don’t make an effort. The president can’t see you. Begin would reply: With the president of the United States one must speak standing up!
Begin argued, even quarreled, with Samuel Lewis, who served as the US ambassador to Israel. But with the White House, with the White House’s landlord, he was submissive, he was a “tatala” (a child in Yiddish). Begin described Jimmy Carter, who forced him to withdraw from all of Sinai and the Yamit region and recognize the Palestinians’ legitimate rights, as one of the great people of the generation, similar to Jabotinsky. In a different occasion he asked Sharon to end the settlement enterprise. I promised President Reagan that we would build five settlements and not a single one more, said Begin, complete five and the mission will have been accomplished. Sharon recounted that too with a flicker of ridicule.
Twenty years later, when it was Sharon’s turn to become prime minister, he was very much attentive to the US president. During his term it was George W. Bush. Sharon was afraid of him. He stored in his mind every sentence, full stop and comma which came out of the president’s mouth. He made sure to fulfill every word and shred of a promise he made to Bush.
Israel’s prime ministers lent a quivery ear to the American presidents. They knew why. They remembered that the United States is like the Tablets of the Decalogue of our existence as a state. There were great heroes, generals and underground commanders among our prime ministers: David Ben-Gurion, Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Sharon. They were courageous concerning themselves and a lot less courageous when it came to the State.
From this aspect, from this aspect too, Benjamin Netanyahu is unusual: He is courageous when it comes to the State and a big coward concerning himself. He is in constant, personal, governmental and party-related fear. His relations with US presidents were unsuccessful, never good, neither with Bill Clinton in the first term nor with Barack Obama in his second and third terms. Something there just doesn’t click. There is distrust, lack of chemistry. Who knows whose fault it is. The prime minister may be allowed to base his future and welfare on one private American, a casino tycoon, but not the future, security and welfare of the State.
And Netanyahu’s only friend, gambling tycoon and the world’s richest owner of gambling establishments and the world’s 3rd richest Jew Sheldon Adelson.
This government spatters insults and curses at the American administration like spray from a Hilltop Youth’s cache. Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon with the messianic and obsessive Kerry, whose only passion is a Nobel Prize. The deprived youth group of Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely. In the Habayit Hayehudi party – contrary to its pretense, slogan and sticker – nothing new has started. All the old things continue. Everyone there, at Habayit Hayehudi, is Orit Strock. There are too many Miri Regevs in the Likud. The government’s rhetoric and volume express Strock’s liberality with Regev’s political intelligence.
The prime minister whispers something, expresses reservations, issues an indirect statement, his office hints. He was furious with Bennett for stabbing him in a personal and personality-related manner with “befuddlement.” We didn’t hear his anger over the damage Habayit Hayehudi’s chairman caused Israel’s foreign relations and, implicitly, its security. Bennett is preparing a cyber attack against Netanyahu for a rainy day. He has teamed up with a sophisticated production company to produce and distribute offensive and insulting clips skillfully and rapidly, if and when Netanyahu dares accept Kerry’s principles.
One doesn’t have to be an American secretary of state to know that our security and prosperity are temporary, that an accelerated de-legitimization campaign is on its way, that the boycotts and bans will increase. Unfortunately, economic sanctions against Israel are closer and more available than new sanctions against Iran.
Rouhani in Tehran and Abbas in Ramallah have succeeded in doing what Arab leaders have longed for and failed to do for years: To drive a wedge, or at least a thorn, between Israel and the US.
In this state of affairs, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is functioning as a substitute mother or super nanny. Lieberman, as a nursery teacher, is hanging a bib on the neck of the government’s children and feeding them oatmeal with a spoon.
Americans see Lieberman as a gold mine compared to childish and irresponsible behavior of Netanyahu and his Likud ministers
By Sima Kadmon, Opinion, Ynet news
February 09, 2014
If the old Yvet, the one from the Aswan-Tehran speeches, had heard Avigdor Lieberman’s speech last Friday, he would surely have pulled his hair out. The man has seemingly made a u-turn at 120 kilometers per hour, with two wheels in the air and without a safety belt.
But Lieberman’s call for Israeli unity over land and his support for John Kerry should not surprise anyone. Since his return to the Foreign Ministry, he has been delivering word for word on what he promised on the eve of his acquittal in a fraud trial, to be the balancing, moderating and uniting factor in the Netanyahu coalition. The responsible adult – a title we love to bestow in an environment lacking responsible adults.
There is no doubt that Lieberman has made a strategic decision. He has had enough of being in the position he was in throughout the previous term, especially as it did not pay any political dividends.
Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennet during the 2013 negotiations for a coalition government. Lieberman is now trying to keep Lapid onside while excluding Bennett. Photo Getty Images.
One only has to see his beaming face when he is asked about this change in his status: From the bad, boycotted boy who had not set foot in the White House, to the State Department’s darling, the one the Americans are now going out of their way to honor.
It’s quite possible that we will soon see our Yvet walking tenderly on the red carpet on his way to a meeting with President Obama.
But if we factor in that Lieberman was never an ideologist but a pragmatic and cold person, and that he gained his high popularity among the right mainly due to his aggressive image, all of this should not surprise us at all. He is still demonstrating his rightism at the expense of Israel’s Arabs.
We should not discount Lieberman’s political interests: The immigrants are no longer flocking to Yisrael Beiteinu, the Likud is blocked, and his way to the prime minister’s residence is to take a sharp turn to the left, split the Likud and create a new package together with Netanyahu, while rebuilding his public image on the way, if possible.
If the Likud option still exists after all, Lieberman has reached the conclusion long ago that the only way of doing it is through Netanyahu rather than through Ya’alon and Danon. And until that happens, if it happens, Lieberman is the coalition’s tiebreaker, between the Right and Lapid and Livni, both of whom maintain a close and coordinated relationship with him. That is also the reason why in Friday’s speech he attacked the cousin, Naftali Bennett.
For the Americans, Lieberman is, as I said, a gold mine. On Sunday, the prime minister sent ministers Steinitz, Erdan and Ya’alon to lash out at Kerry. After the White House rushed to back Kerry, Netanyahu realized that he had gone too far, and on Monday, during the faction meeting, he asked them to pipe down. Lieberman stood up against this childish, irresponsible behavior and called the American foreign minister “a true friend of Israel,” while mocking his fellow ministers for competing over who could be the most blatant and fiery.
The days of the messiah have arrived: Lieberman is rebuking(!) those criticizing the attempt to establish two states for two people. And if we’re still not convinced that we are seeing an about-face, we can memorize Lieberman’s new catchphrase: “The unity of the people is more important than the unity of the land.”