Acquitted Israeli Politician Returns to Job as Foreign Minister – NYTimes.com

Now Lieberman can get back to work, but one party leader in Israel says he “lacks inhibitions and sows discord,” hardly the skills of diplomacy needed in a difficult time for Israel with conflicts in Syria, crisis in Iran, and rebuilding in Iraq and Egypt all around.

A Russian-speaking immigrant from the former Soviet Union who lives in a settlement in the West Bank, Mr. Lieberman was foreign minister in the previous Israeli government from 2009 to late 2012, a tenure marked by several episodes that critics deemed highly undiplomatic. Famously skeptical of the prospects of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, Mr. Lieberman, a hard-line populist, accused the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, of engaging in “diplomatic terrorism.”

Last year, addressing an audience of foreign diplomats in Israel, Mr. Lieberman gave vent to his government’s anger over European support for diplomatic gains by the Palestinians at the United Nations and over international rebukes for Israeli settlement plans. Comparing Israel’s situation to that of Czechoslovakia in 1938 before the Nazi invasion, he said, “When push comes to shove, many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel without batting an eyelid in order to appease Islamic radicals and ensure quiet for themselves.”

via Acquitted Israeli Politician Returns to Job as Foreign Minister – NYTimes.com.

All this is happening as Israel deepens its diplomatic relationship with none else other than China, starting with weapons and now with trade in technology investment.

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8 thoughts on “Acquitted Israeli Politician Returns to Job as Foreign Minister – NYTimes.com

  1. To me, Lieberman symbolizes a political class that I despise. Diplomacy is an art and a lifestyle, if you will. It takes a true diplomat to be a good diplomat. Also, my impression was that a true diplomat’s mission is to create bridges and solve problems. In my view, and the view of many, Lieberman has been acting like a spoiled child who feels he’s entitled to everything and victimizes himself when things don’t go his way. The Holocaust did happen, and it was a tragedy of great proportion. I wonder whether Lieberman keeps bringing it up to guilt-trip Europe or simply because he can’t help it. After all, the Holocaust did leave visible scars on the Jews. Perhaps the fear of being overlooked is still ingrained in many Israeli politicians’ minds.

  2. Something that interests me in international politics and is exemplified here is how much personalities in specific people affect outcomes. Lieberman has a forthright quality about him, which is attractive to some, and very off-putting to others. From many Israelis point of view, certainly from Netanyahu’s who held Lieberman’s position open until the conclusion of his trial, he is the perfect man and personality for Israel’s foreign minister. He uses harsh and blunt statements to get his point across (“many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel without batting an eyelid”). Other Israelis, though, believe that reinstating him would be “planting a bomb beneath the peace process.”
    Either way, Lieberman is an unfortunate reminder of all the very skilled and yet corrupt politicians of the world, and adds to the study of how their country handles the situation.

  3. sarahlakee says:

    While reading this article, the first that surprised me was that Mr. Lieberman has had a seventeen year investigation “hanging over his head.” Israel possibly welcomes back a foreign minister accused of fraud and money laundering (now acquitted to charged with breach of trust), known for his undiplomatic outbursts, and considered to succeed or rival Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The return of an unprofessional diplomatic will not help Israel in their delicate negotiations and international relations.

  4. Joshua Dennis says:

    At a decidedly tense and important time in Israeli foreign affairs, it makes you wonder if a decidedly undiplomatic diplomat is the right man for the job. As Kennan explained, Lieberman’s personality is admired by some and grates on others. While diplomacy is often thought of as a “peoples person” type of profession, sometimes the most amount of headway can be made by a blunt instrument hacking through areas where others would be more timid and reserved. I don’t profess to know whether or not Lieberman will prove to be apropos during this period of negotiations, but it is important to note that the job of a diplomat certainly isn’t a “one size fits all” type of position when it comes to personalities.

    • I couldn’t agree more with Josh about Lieberman. He is certainly not the most diplomatic diplomat, but he is willing to be blunt and honest. He will stand for Israel’s foreign policy at a time of high tension in the region. We shouldn’t forget what a precarious position Israel is constantly in. Virtually all of its neighbors are unfriendly to the small country and some would like to see it wiped off the map. The deep religious and geopolitical divides that are the root cause of the tensions are not easily assuaged. Israel has to have a strong foreign policy and equally strong leaders that want peace, but are not willing to appease antagonistic actors in the process- history has shown the costs of appeasement.

  5. Megs says:

    Despite the fact that Israel seems to be growing more and more desperate in their conflict against Palestine, they seem to continually be making poor choices. They continue to press for harsher treatment of Palestine than their allies are willing to commit to, and this reappointment of a diplomat who is not overly diplomatic can’t possibly help them on the world stage–surely they see that? I understand the increased drive for a solution considering how long both countries have butted heads, but at this time I feel as though Israel is only making the situation worse for itself.

  6. haleyroberts says:

    This article demonstrates that Israel will do anything to protect its interests. Although Liberman might not appeal to most, Israel’s president sees something in him that he hopes will change their current situation with Palestine. Hopefully, this decision will prove positive for them and Liberman will learn some diplomatic skills to help them out more.

  7. ianhesterly says:

    The idea that Lieberman brings up at the end, as far as comparing this situation to WWII, is a very interesting one. Certainly at that time the powers that were decided to sacrifice certain lands to the Germans in the hope of preserving a larger peace. However, I don’t know if that could happen again because the difference in military power of Israel next to Czechoslovakia in the 30’s is hardly comparable. They have the means to stand up for themselves, even if international pressure is against them.

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