Avigdor Lieberman resigns as Israeli Foreign Minister

3191419368Avigdor Lieberman Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

Facing fraud charges in connection with an ambassador’s promotion, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister today just weeks before Israel’s parliamentary elections.

After a long-running investigation involving major allegation of money laundering, aggravated fraud and witness tampering Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to indict him on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust. The main case against Lieberman, involving harassing witnesses, accepting bribes and the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars, has been dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence. Lieberman has denied all charges and accused legal authorities of going on a political witch hunt.

Haaretz:

Lieberman suggested that he will try to secure a plea bargain before the upcoming elections in January, and added that he made the decision following deliberations with his lawyers, despite the fact that he was told he was not obligated to resign from his position as foreign minister.

“Even though I know I did not commit any crime… I decided to resign from my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister,” Lieberman announced Friday. “Following 16 years of investigations against me, I will now be able to end this matter quickly and without delays, and finally clear my name.”

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Thursday said he was closing the main case against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, concluding a 12-year investigation into allegations of money laundering and fraud. However, Weinstein said he would indict Lieberman on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust, in the case concerning Israel’s former ambassador to Belarus.

Everything you need to know: Lieberman graft case 101

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Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 22 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. a blah chick says:

    So, he’s going to try to get a plea bargain eventhough he claims he didn’t do anything wrong.

    Makes sense to me.

    From what I can see being convicted or at least accused of fraud is practically a rite of passage for anyone wanting to be head of state in that crazy republic.

  2. kalithea says:

    “Lieberman has denied all charges and accused legal authorities of going on a political witch hunt.”

    In that case, DING-DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD; THE WITCH IS DEAD…!

    Couldn’t happen to a “nicer” guy, unfortunately, Zionists always have another witch waiting in the wings to take this ones place.

    • i wish kalithea, but unfortunately he’s very much alive and still kicking. this probably represents a little dent in his political career.

      • seafoid says:

        It may not even be a dent. He said in Israel lat week that he was being persecuted. Eli yishai of Shas did the same schtick 2 years ago when the Carmel fire happened and he was the minister responsible for the inept Government response. He said he was being persecuted because of who he was. And his Sephardi base loved it. I bet the Russians and the settlers will vote in even bigger numbers for the bouncer. Zionists don’t do responsibility.

  3. Reds says:

    Couldn’t have happen to a better man(Sarcasm off)

    So I checked NPR to see how NPR would handle this? NPR refered to AP checked Both were to busy tieing NK Rocket Lanch to Iran.

    Here’s how AP described Liberman
    link to npr.org

    “Israel’s powerful foreign minister ”

    “The Soviet-born Lieberman is head of Yisrael Beitenu, an ultranationalist party that is especially popular with immigrants from the former Soviet Union. With a tough-talking message that has questioned the loyalty of Israel’s Arab minority, sharply criticized the Palestinians and confronted Israel’s foreign critics, he has at times alienated Israel’s allies while becoming an influential voice in Israeli politics.”

    Calling a Israeli Jew a racist is still Taboo both by NPR and AP instead it’s “proposals that critics said were anti-Arab”. This was the guy on his way to be P.M. (still could be)

    “Lieberman is known for inflammatory rhetoric that has at times agitated his partners in government. He has called for executing Israeli Arab lawmakers who met with leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas”

    “More recently, Lieberman pushed a series of legislative proposals that critics said were anti-Arab,”

    “He has also called for redrawing Israel’s border to place Arab towns under Palestinian jurisdiction.”

    Anyone want to take a shot what the media would be calling someone who advocated the above against Jews? inflammatory would be the last word used

  4. Avi_G. says:

    I’m speculating, but there is the possibility — though slim — that Natanyahu pressured him to resign so as not to damage his chances of getting re-elected, with the promise of bringing him back on after the elections as a cabinet minister again.

  5. Les says:

    Now that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is finally being indicted, one wonders if NPR’s Robert Siegel will offer to testify as a character witness for his friend.

    link to haaretz.com

  6. W.Jones says:

    Question: This is a 12 year investigation discussed for a long time in the press. Why now? And what political forces are behind it?

    • w.jones, this has been a long ongoing process and yes it has been discussed in the news. it was a big deal yesterday when the case was closed and most reported he had skirted all the charges except breach of trust. but today, he was indicted for fraud also. i recommend the very last link in the article for more details.

      • W.Jones says:

        My guess is that he did perform corrupt acts, but that the prosecution is also politically motivated. Alot of times political charges get swept under the rug if they are inopportune, so to speak, particularly for bigger leaders. Alternately, one may wonder why they are not in other cases.

        I understand that it has been reported alot in the news over time, but I still think that 12 years is a long time, and my guess is there was some cause for delay and for some reason this has been remove. Sorry, I am just not a believer in the purity of the political process, including in our own.

        Echoing Kalithea’s mark, I think it would have been much better if he had rather gotten voted out, because it would show a deeper shift in the political base among the people.

        Regards.

    • Egbert says:

      Uri Avnery suggested Lieberman might be out for Netanyahu

      link to counterpunch.org

      This could be a pre-emptive strike by Netanyahu to fend off this threat to his dream to be a new King David.

  7. What we need is an indictment over here of someone corruptly serving the Likud-Beiteinu bloc in US government or the halls of influence. By a prosecutor with the backbone to stand up to the heat.

  8. Mayhem says:

    This goes to show what a resilient democracy Israel has.

    • Sumud says:

      Yeah, resilient, whatever.

      What about those millions of Palestinians living under occupation that have no vote merely because they are the wrong religion?

      Israel is not a democracy – at best you could describe it as an apartheid ethnocracy.

    • Cliff says:

      Israel is a democracy for Jews.

      And it is hardly ‘resilient’ (whatever the hell that means).

      You can only speak in slogans because you’re intellectually and morally shallow.

      A democracy for Jews and institutional discrimination for non-Jews while apartheid for non-Jews in the colonial project in what is left of Historic Palestine is anything but ‘resilient’.

      It is hypocrisy and suppression and oppression (in more or less that order).

      Given that amoral and hypocritical and fascist nationalists like you like to parade this so-called democracy around your political opponents only – it’s clear you don’t really value said democracy or the concept of democracy itself, except as a rhetorical point-scoring salvo.

      Pathetic.

      • Mayhem says:

        Somebody should buy you a dictionary Cliff.
        Resilient Marked by the ability to recover readily, as from misfortune.
        I speak about facts not slogans – that is your game.
        FACT = An Arab Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra convicted the former president of Israel Moshe Katsav.
        Now for comparison purposes please a country in the region that goes anywhere close to this level of justice.