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Veteran Israeli diplomat resigns, saying Israel is delegitimizing itself

Israel/Palestine
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An important story, the resignation of veteran Israeli diplomat Ilan Baruch to protest Netanyahu’s intransigence in the face of international pressure to come to terms with the Palestinians. Haaretz reported first:

The diplomatic policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are harming Israel’s international standing, a senior Israeli diplomat said in his retiring letter on Tuesday, adding that he felt Israel’s declared stance regarding regional peace attempts was aiding in its own delegitimization.

The Ynet headline is even stronger: Diplomat: I can no longer represent Israel. (h/t Joseph Dana) Jeff Blankfort says Baruch was inspired by the Arab revolutions and the defection of high officials in several of those autocracies.Ynet’s version:

A veteran diplomat says he has resigned from his post because he had a hard time defending the policies of Israel’s current government, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.

Ilan Baruch says he quit because “Israel’s foreign policy is wrong,” pointing to the Palestinian issue. 

Should this trend continue, he warned, Israel will turn into a pariah state and face growing de-legitimization. 

Baruch told Israel TV Wednesday that Israel’s standing was in danger because of its policies, which he said were “difficult to explain.” 

“I can no longer honestly represent this government…”

That piece includes this wisdom from Baruch: “Identifying the objection expressed by global public opinion to the occupation policy as anti-Semitic is simplistic, provincial and artificial,” he wrote. “Experience shows that this global trend won’t change until we normalize our relations with the Palestinians.” Haaretz is now pushing the story, saying that Baruch’s statements have hit a chord among other Israeli diplomats who don’t want to serve a pariah state.

Several Israeli diplomats said they identified with the farewell letter written by their colleague Ilan Baruch to the Foreign Ministry staff this week, in which he said he felt he could not longer represent the government’s policy.

A number of senior Israeli ambassadors have made remarks similar to Baruch’s over the past few months. “It has become impossible to explain Israel to others these days,” one ambassador said. “There is no clear policy and it is very difficult to respond to international criticism.”

Another ambassador said: “The diplomatic impasse is dangerous to the State of Israel, and it doesn’t seem as if the prime minister has a solution in the form of a diplomatic initiative. Under such circumstances, the international community will simply force a solution on us.”

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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