‘Daily Beast’ ode to Livni makes no mention of Gaza assault

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 21 Comments
Livni
Tzipi Livni

Daily Beast columnist John Avlon, a former Rudy Giuliani speechwriter, has a fawning profile of Tzipi Livni up, describing Livni as “fascinating” and “crisp and confident.” The words Gaza, Operation Cast Lead or war crimes do not figure into Avlon’s conversation with Livni, who was the Israeli foreign minister during the 2008-09 assault on Gaza.

Check out these excerpts from Avlon’s piece:

Livni is one of the most fascinating figures on the international political stage. Born in 1958, three years before Obama, she is a former Israel Defense Forces lieutenant, a lawyer, and the mother of two children, positioned to be the second female prime minister of Israel, after the legendary Golda Meir. She joined Ariel Sharon in his breakaway from Likud in 2005 to form the centrist party Kadima (“Forward”) and served as foreign minister in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government. She was narrowly defeated by the Netanyahu-led Likud in 2009 and now faces a primary challenge within her own party at the end of March. But this morning in New York, she seems crisp and confident, impatient with the Kabuki theater of partisan politics, and more grounded in the realities of pragmatic decision making…

That is the perspective of a stateswoman, viewing crises with a sense of moral clarity, determination that is not driven entirely by short-term self-interest. We need more Tzipi Livnis in world politics—and more Kadimas, for that matter—offering a balance of head and heart, trying to move us forward, together.

This view of Kadima as a party of “balance” is a myth, as Akiva Eldar of Ha’aretz so amply demonstrated here.

Avlon does ask Livni about the “slaughter of civilians in Israel’s neighbor”–but he’s referring to Syria, of course, not the Gaza Strip. And Livni has the audacity to feign concern for the civilians of Syria three years after Livni played a large role in executing Operation Cast Lead, which had dire consequences for the civilians of Gaza. More from Livni:

“I think that the world is not doing enough,” she says. “Assad is killing his own people, and the world is doing nothing, basically. And I think that the behavior of Russia and China in the Security Council was really something which is not acceptable. Help is needed, and I believe that Israel should be part of this. Nobody knows who’s going to be next [or] what’s going to be next, but we know that what’s happening there is something which is not acceptable … we need to stand and to say this is not acceptable, to condemn these things and to help the international community to do something about it. It’s not a political issue. I believe it’s more than that.”

This is the same Livni who, in discussing Israel’s assault on Gaza, said that Israel “is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.” This statement, among others, was highlighted in the UN Goldstone report as crucial to understanding why there was such “massive destruction of businesses, agricultural land, chicken farms and residential houses” in Gaza.

Here’s some facts you don’t get in Avlon’s piece about the military operation Livni helped implement as foreign minister. Over 300 children were killed by Israeli bombs and bullets. In total, an estimated 1,400 Palestinians died, the vast majority of them civilians. The invasion of Gaza resulted in 20,000 people becoming homeless. Numerous human rights organizations have said that Israel committed war crimes during the assault. Lawyers and activists have sought Livni out for war crimes prosecution for her role in Cast Lead.

Sound like a person with “moral clarity” to you?
 

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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21 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    March 19, 2012, 9:42 am

    Avlon does ask Livni about the “slaughter of civilians in Israel’s neighbor”–but he’s referring to Syria

    she’s a professional slaughterer of civilians, a Slaughter Queen.

  2. marc b.
    March 19, 2012, 9:57 am

    livni is yet another representative of the fictional ‘center’, of the zombie mediocrity that stumbles forward despite itself. ‘too smart to fail’, to borrow from thomas frank, too naturally disingenuous to be challenged (by the likes of avlon and other respectibles, at least), for example, incessantly whining on about the iranian threat (implying, of course, that iran is an ‘irrational’ actor) while heartily adopting the dodgy biblical imperative that zionists behave like mad dogs, to murder the children of your enemy, in reaction to any provocation, actual or potential. and what business do ‘former’ speech writers have in rooting around in ostensibly legitimate journalistic circles? getting paid to spin yarns for guiliani should disqualify one from a subsequent career in ‘journalism’.

  3. Theo
    March 19, 2012, 9:58 am

    Tzipi did not dare to go to London until the present government changed laws to please her. Those laws would have allowed anyone to do a citizen arrest on her for war crimes in Gaza.
    Cameron, being a zionist traitor, made sure all israeli war criminals can go on a shopping tour to London without fear of having to pay for their sins.

    • Hostage
      March 19, 2012, 11:32 am

      Tzipi did not dare to go to London until the present government changed laws to please her.

      Her visit to the UK still wasn’t possible, even after the law was changed. The government suspended the application of the new statutory procedures by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) , and simply granted Livni “special mission immunity” for the duration of her visit. So the new statute wasn’t actually tested as Livni and the UK government claimed at the time. See Changes to UK law didn’t protect Tzipi Livni link to aljazeera.com

      • Theo
        March 20, 2012, 2:12 pm

        Thanks you, Hostage, your information is always appreciated.

      • Theo
        March 20, 2012, 2:19 pm

        After reading the article I am even more upset and hope the british sort this out before Tzipi decides to go shopping again. Arresting her is a very tiny step toward justice for Gaza.

  4. lysias
    March 19, 2012, 10:08 am

    Don’t forget: the Olmert/Livni government was also responsible for the 2006 Lebanon war.

  5. Erasmus
    March 19, 2012, 10:51 am

    Tzipi Livni not only implemented this Gaza War policy, but agressively defended the Gaza War as the right thing to be done.
    Without the slightest inkling of remorse.

    Annie’s “Slaughter Queen” may sound a harsh qualification – but given these facts such qualification must be considered as fully justified.

    • lysias
      March 19, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Her parents were prominent Irgun members. Her father was chief operations officer of the Irgun. Tzipi herself did her military service in the elite Mossad unit responsible for Operation Wrath of God (the tracking down of people involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre that forms the subject of Spielberg’s movie Munich.)

  6. dahoit
    March 19, 2012, 11:08 am

    Israel goes wilding huh,who’d a thunk it?

  7. Mndwss
    March 19, 2012, 1:55 pm

    “Kadima (“Forward”)” “We need more Tzipi Livnis in world politics—and more Kadimas, for that matter—offering a balance of head and heart, trying to move us forward, together.”

    Heil Livni! We love you. Move us forward, together!

    What does it mean to have a balance of head and heart?
    link to answers.yahoo.com

    “Best Answer – Chosen by Voters:
    It means they work together in unison so a person can think with reason, compassion and logic.

    “Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.”

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    “Livni is one of the most fascinating figures on the international political stage.” She is “offering a balance of head and heart”, (without a balance of compassion and evil).

    She must be very fascinating for people like John “Heil Livni” Avlon.

    This is just what the world needs

    More Tzipi Livnis…

    More Kadimas…

    The American “journalist” John Avlon will soon go into a phone booth and change into the costume of Captain Israel, the Jewish Superman (now with an Israeli passport) that will save the world… (for Jews).

    He will rescue the damsel in distress (Not Lois Lane), but the war criminal Livny.

    This world is a Bizarro world.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Walid
      March 21, 2012, 4:51 am

      Mndwss, she’s really a guy, but don’t tell anyone.

  8. Pixel
    March 19, 2012, 11:40 pm

    “And Livni has the audacity to feign concern for the civilians of Syria three years after Livni played a large role in executing Operation Cast Lead, which had dire consequences for the civilians of Gaza. More from Livni:

    “I think that the world is not doing enough,” she says.

    Syria is the backdoor to Iran.

  9. Walid
    March 20, 2012, 4:19 pm

    More on Livni from YNet of Jan 2011 about her transfer plans revealed by Jazeera:

    link to ynetnews.com
    In January 2008, according to the secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks, former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei told Livni that the Palestinians would never accept the transfer of Israeli Arabs. But Livni, who currently heads the opposition, presented the offer again in June of that year.

    PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abd Rabbo fiercely slams Qatari network for exposing papers documenting negotiations between PA, Israel. ‘Quotes said in ironic tone were presented as Palestinian answers,’ he says; calls for independent Palestinian body to investigate leak

    Full Story

    The current leader of the Kadima party explained privately that there are “some Palestinian villages located on both sides of the 1967 line about which we need to have an answer, such as Beit Safafa, Barta’a, Baqa al-Sharqiya and Baqa al-Gharbiya,” the Guardian reported.

    Earlier, she had made clear that such swaps also meant “the swap of the inhabitants,” but Palestinian negotiators rejected the proposal, according to documents revealed by the British newspaper.

    During the talks, Livni said, “Israel is a Jewish state, and I want to stress that our nation is the Jewish nation.”

    On Sunday it was revealed that the Palestinian negotiators were willing to concede sections of east Jerusalem to Israeli control as part of a final peace deal, and the memos released on Monday revealed they also agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families – out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million – could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement.

    The leaked confidential documents revealed that PLO leaders also accepted Israel’s demand to define itself as an explicitly Jewish state, in sharp contrast to their public position.

    According to the documents, in 2008 then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested that Palestinian refugees could be resettled in South America. “Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind,” she said, “Chile, Argentina, etc.”

    While chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for an extension of the construction moratorium in the West Bank racist, the secret documents show that his position was quite different behind closed doors.
    “If you want to call your state a Jewish state, you can call it that,” he told Livni at the time, “Just as Iran and Saudi Arabia define themselves as Islamic or Arab.”

    • lysias
      March 20, 2012, 5:03 pm

      According to the documents, in 2008 then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested that Palestinian refugees could be resettled in South America. “Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind,” she said, “Chile, Argentina, etc.”

      What about resettling them in the U.S.? This country certainly bears a large share of the responsibility for what happened to the Palestinians.

      If they were resettled here, there would at any rate be a large ethnic interest group to counterbalance the Israel lobby.

      • Walid
        March 21, 2012, 4:39 am

        lysias, if you remember the sequence of events that preceded Israel’s barbaric onslaught on Gaza on December 27,2008, the barracuda was shuttling all over the place filling in other countries about the planned attack and the last was with Mubarak that appears to have given the final green light. Livni, an ex-Mossad spy and daughter of the Irgun terrorist that did the King David Hotel massacre, was part of a satanic plan to kill Gazans that had been hatched almost a year in advance. In preparation for the war, Livni had hired ex-UN Ambassador Gillerman to head a special department to coach Israeli FM peronnel in over 100 embassies around the world on how to jump into action with press releases and appearances on talk shows to to drum up support for Israel’s war on Gaza the minute the war would be declared.

        Chris McGreal of the Guardian wrote about the preparations and of Gillerman’s participation one week into the war:

        “… Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months.

        “This was something that was planned long ahead,” he said. “I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel’s efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery – whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister’s office, the police or the army – work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the message.”

        In briefings in Jerusalem and London, Brussels and New York, the same core messages were repeated: that Israel had no choice but to attack in response to the barrage of Hamas rockets; that the coming attack would be on “the infrastructure of terror” in Gaza and the targets principally Hamas fighters; that civilians would die, but it was because Hamas hides its fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.

        Hand in hand went a strategy to remove the issue of occupation from discussion. Gaza was freed in 2005 when the Jewish settlers and army were pulled out, the Israelis said. It could have flourished as the basis of a Palestinian state, but its inhabitants chose conflict.

        Israel portrayed Hamas as part of an axis of Islamist fundamentalist evil with Iran and Hezbollah. Its actions, the Israelis said, are nothing to do with continued occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza or the Israeli military’s continued killing of large numbers of Palestinians since the pullout. “Israel is part of the free world and fights extremism and terrorism. Hamas is not,” the foreign minister and Kadima party leader, Tzipi Livni, said on arriving in France as part of the diplomatic offensive last week.

        Earlier in the week Livni deployed the “with us or against us” rhetoric of George W Bush’s war on terror. “These are the days when every individual in the region and in the world has to choose a side. And the sides have changed. No longer is it Israel on one side and the Arab world on the other,” she said. “Israel chose its side the day it was established; the Jewish people chose its side during its thousands of years of existence; and the prayer for peace is the voice sounded in the synagogues.”

        It was a message pumped home with receptive Arab governments, such as Egypt and Jordan, which view Hamas with hostility. “Large parts of the Muslim and Arab world realise that Hamas represents a greater danger to them even than it does to Israel. Its extremism, its fundamentalism, is a great danger to them as well,” said Gillerman. “We’ve seen the effect of that in numerous responses, in the public statements made by [Egypt’s] President Mubarak and even by [Palestinian president] Mahmoud Abbas and other Arabs. This is totally unprecedented.”

        Indeed, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said his government knew exactly what was coming: “The signs that Israel was determined to strike Hamas in Gaza for the past three months were clear. They practically wrote it in the sky. Unfortunately they [Hamas] served Israel the opportunity on a golden platter.”

        Also crucial was what was not said. Just a few months ago Livni was talking of wiping out Hamas, but that would be unpalatable to much of the outside world as a justification for the assault. So now the talk is of pressing Gaza’s government to agree to a new ceasefire. Occasionally someone has got off-message. A couple of days into the assault on Gaza, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, said it would continue for “as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely”. Infuriated Israeli officials in Jerusalem warned her that such statements could set back the diplomatic offensive.”

        link to guardian.co.uk

      • Hostage
        March 21, 2012, 8:44 pm

        lysias, if you remember the sequence of events that preceded Israel’s barbaric onslaught on Gaza on December 27,2008, the barracuda was shuttling all over the place filling in other countries about the planned attack and the last was with Mubarak that appears to have given the final green light.

        When the UN began pressing demands for a criminal investigation, the Israeli government engaged in a propaganda campaign which claimed everyone and their dog knew all along about the up-coming attack on Gaza.

        Those reports were at odds with earlier reports from the Israeli government’s media echo chamber which highlighted the success of the deliberate disinformation campaign to deceive the public and international community into believing that there would be no attack on Gaza – and the fact that it had been an integral part of the operational planning all along. See Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about – Barak ordered preparations for Saturday’s operation 6 months ago, as Israel, Hamas agreed on a truce. link to haaretz.com

        There was also disinformation about the PA being supplied prior notice or having called for an Israeli attack, but that backfired and resulted in the PA demand for an independent investigation by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. See ICC prosecutor considers ‘Gaza war crimes’ probe. link to todayszaman.com

        Olmert and the other members of his cabinet ignored warnings from Barak and Livni that prolonging Operation Cast Lead or inserting ground forces deep into populated areas would damage Israel diplomatically. See Olmert: Gaza war won’t end until rockets and smuggling stop – Barak, Livni disagree with Olmert, want quick end to Gaza fighting; PM: Truce now would be missed opportunity. link to haaretz.com

    • Robert
      March 20, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Walid,

      The concession that Israel could *define itself* as a Jewish state is not new.

      From Lawrence of Cyberia:
      link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com
      “The PLO has already made clear that if Israel wishes to be known as a “Jewish state” in the same way that Iran is called an “Islamic Republic”, i.e. in a strictly titular sense, they would have no objection to this (or rather, they wouldn’t consider this any of their business at all). When foreign countries refer to “the Islamic Republic of Iran” they are simply using the name that that country chooses to be known by, not granting diplomatic approval to a particular religion, form of government or demographic balance within the country (none of which are suitable subjects for diplomatic recognition). In the same way, NATO countries during the Cold War might have referred to Warsaw Pact countries by the names that they chose for themselves, e.g the “German Democratic Republic”, but in doing so they weren’t commenting one way or another on whether they thought East Germany was really a democracy.”

      • Walid
        March 21, 2012, 3:41 am

        Robert, the problem is not with what Israel chooses to call itself and of course it’s not new. The problem is with Israel’s overt plans of erasing any Palestinian Arab vestiges from the land and this means either the elimination or the transfer out of 20% of its population that is Arab or their full assimilation into the Zionist culture. It’s just a matter of time before all Arabic writing will be removed from street signage and all Arabic sounding names changed for Hebrew ones. It’s also a matter of time before Arabic would no longer be taught to Arabs in schools. This is what this Jewish state controversy is about. Anyone that doesn’t get it is either pretending or stupid. If Israel were to give guarantees to its Arabs that this is not going to happen at any time in the future, no Arab would object to what Israel chooses to call itself.

        Hostage, if you’d rather believe the word of a negotiator that hasn’t negotiated a single thing for the Palestinians and that can’t negotiate his way out of a broom closet, that’s your business. Every other Palestinian believe these people are collaborators and irrespective that these “funny” concessions about returning 10,000 refugees over several years out of a total of about 5 million and surrendering rights to a good part of East Jerusalem having never been formalized because they were just useless chatter, just the fact of agreeing to discuss them in the first place is seditious enough in my book; you’re apologizing and putting up a smoke screen for undeserving people.

    • Hostage
      March 20, 2012, 7:01 pm

      the memos released on Monday revealed they also agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families – out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million – could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement.

      In fact none of the memos published by the Guardian or Al Jazeera contained any record that documented such an agreement between the PA and Israeli negotiators. The summaries published by the media simply alleged that an offer had been made.

      While chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for an extension of the construction moratorium in the West Bank racist, the secret documents show that his position was quite different behind closed doors.

      The memos showed that he called it incitement behind closed doors too:

      …Then Obama brought up incitement. . . .We should prepare for them a file on who is actually inciting. The demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is incitement. [To the NSU] Look very carefully at incitement. Bring as much evidence as possible on Israeli incitement against us, including legislation, speeches, books …

      See “Meeting Minutes: Saeb Erekat with (PLO) Negotiations Support Unit on US Meetings” link to transparency.aljazeera.net June 2, 2009

      The PA never agreed to Netanyahu’s request that the PA formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Erekat simply replied that Israel could (continue to) call itself a Jewish state.

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