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?