Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Match Made in Hell

It seems only yesterday that The Australian's foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan was adamant that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was no more right-wing than Malcolm Fraser:

"[Benjamin] Netanyahu, not least in the Australian media, is almost always called 'hardline right-wing'. This would be the equivalent of calling the government of John Howard or Malcolm Fraser hardline right-wing... Netanyahu leads the Likud Party, which has been Israel's centre-right party for decades... It would be much more honest to label Netanyahu's Government centre-right. This question of language is of the first order of importance. The ancient Chinese sage Confucius, when asked what would be the main political reform he would carry out if he achieved state power, replied: 'It would certainly be to rectify the names.' Israel's enemies, heirs to ancient anti-Semitism, are on a relentless quest to delegitimise and demonise it at every point. Mislabelling a democratic government of mainstream, democratic politicians as hardline right-wing is an important part of that quest." (Israeli leaders mislabelled by foes, 9/4/09) [See my 15/4/09 post Selling Lieberman.]

And that was despite Netanyahu's Likud being in coalition with Moldovan bouncer Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party, which advocates loyalty oaths and army service for Palestinian Israelis and transferring some of their towns to the Palestinian Authority. At the time Sheridan had gone on to assure us that: "It is fair to say [Lieberman] is to the right of Netanyahu but not fair to say he is an extremist." (ibid)

Now that Netanyahu and Lieberman have tired of living in sin and decided to tie the knot, however, the Netanyahu government has taken on a whole new complexion, much as Dr Jekyll took on a whole new complexion when he turned unambiguously into Mr Hyde before embarking on a nocturnal killing spree:

"Whatever pretense the Likud Party still had as the 'moderate right,' at least by Israel's standards, vanished in a flash yesterday with the announcement of the joint Likud-Beiteinu list in the upcoming election. Hawkish Netanyahu at number one, and super-hawk Avigdor Lieberman at number two, the party is well and truly Israel's War Party... Lieberman's political career has centered around the twin goals of making people swear loyalty oaths and attacking Iran. Netanyahu's last few months in office have been defined almost entirely by a single-minded determination to start a war with Iran at any cost." (Israel's super-hawk merger makes Iran war the election's central issue, Jason Ditz,, 26/10/12)

No comments: