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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman branded Avigdor Lieberman a racist. Considering that Egyptian government media regularly feature the Protocols of the Elders of Zion along with articles insisting that Hitler didn't finish his work, that's a pretty strong statement. The Washington Post thundered about "ultranationalist" Avigdor Lieberman's "fiery anti-Arab rhetoric." Americans for Peace Now warned against "Legitimizing Lieberman's Bigotry." From his jail cell, arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti told Newsweek, and Newsweek duly publicized:
This is not just a move to the right; this is a move towards extremism. When you have a person like...Avigdor Lieberman, who openly advocates ethnic cleansing, that is an unhealthy sign. Occupation corrupts Israel, and it corrupts the Israelis.
Barghouti, who is serving 5 life sentences for his role in planning suicide bombings and other terror attacks, is presumably an expert on extremism. As a former Secretary General of the Fatah in the West Bank, he is certainly an expert on corruption. The UK paper Al Quds al Arabi joined a call by Israeli Arab MK Ahmad Tibi to boycott Israel if Avigdor Lieberman is allowed into the Israeli government. Various former US officials and Jewish leaders warned that Avigdor Lieberman's participation in the government would be a disaster for U.S. - Israeli relations.
I am not a great fan of Avigdor Lieberman as many of you know very well. But any fair person has to appreciate the delicious irony of this outcry. All these self righteous defenders of human rights who call for boycotting Avigdor Lieberman, and who are hysterical about the rise of extremism in Israel are almost invariably the same people who insist on legitimizing the Hamas and "recognizing the democratic choice of the Palestinian people. Hamas, it should be pointed out at every opportunity, insists that it is going to implement the vision of the prophet, which calls for extermination of all the Jews. Hamas openly declares that it intends to destroy Israel. Hamas refers to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its charter.
The critics are alarmed when less than 13% of the Israeli people voted for Avigdor Lieberman, but it didn't bother them at all when nearly 50% of the Palestinians voted for the Hamas. Dear comrade Marwan Barghouti must be "credited" (if that is the right word) with forming the odious "National and Islamic front" which brought the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad into the mainstream of Palestinian politics. Ahmad Tibi constantly champions the cause of the Hamas.
Aren't many of those same Jewish leaders who are so alarmed about Lieberman and his "extremism," the very same people who are pressuring the Obama administration to negotiate with Iran and with Hamas? Avigdor Lieberman, unlike the Iranian government, doesn't want to hang Bahai and homosexuals. He doesn't even advocate shooting traitors, as Hamas does routinely. So what's all the excitement about Lieberman? He wants Arabs to join an Arab Palestinian state, with their land. That's considered racist. But Marwan Barghouti wants the Jews of East Jerusalem to leave without their land and go to pre-1967 Israel, while the Hamas and the Iranian government plan for the Jews of Israel to leave and go to hell. But the Hamas and Iran are not considered racist, while Lieberman is. They are partners for negotiation and engagement, while Lieberman, according to the critics, should be shunned as an "extremist."
Invariably, the rise of the Hamas and the rise of extremists like Marwan Barghouti are explained away as due to "frustration." The Palestinian people really want peace, but they back suicide bombers and racists because of the frustrations of the peace process and the occupation. Israelis get no no such understanding. The supposedly universal rule that frustration breeds extremism has an exception. Israeli Jews, we are told, chose extremists because are evil, racist and corrupted by the occupation. Otherwise, it cannot be explained. All right thinking people would welcome having Grad rockets in their living room, and warmly accept a minority that supports the enemy in time of war. If some Israeli Jews think otheriwise, it is certainly because they are irretrievably evil and racist.
Finally, let's see if I got this right about Ahmad Tibi. Avigdor Lieberman is angry that Arab MKs in particular are disloyal to Israel. "Nonsense" say his critics. "Nonsense" says Ahmad Tibi. Tibi is such a good citizen of Israel that he proposes to boycott Israel. Does anyone see a problem there?
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