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Avigdor Lieberman: ‘When it comes down to the choice between Jewish or Democratic Israel it has to be Jewish’

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Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: International Middle East Media Center)

Israel Hayom English Editor Amir Mizroch live tweeted an event with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today where he revisited many of his favorite themes including the threat that Palestinian citizens of Israel represent, and his undemocratic vision for the future of Israel. Lieberman was addressing the Sanhedrin Forum for young professionals in Tel Aviv and although the event was supposed to be off-the-record Mizroch tweeted that Lieberman knew it was being reported. Just as reminder, Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu will be merging their political parties ahead of Israeli elections in January.

Here are some of the highlights:

The “JFNAGA” refers to the Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly which is taking place now in Baltimore.

You can read more on Mizroch’s Twitter feed here.

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

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28 Responses

  1. Bill in Maryland on November 13, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Thanks Adam. I certainly hope that such ideas will wake American Jews up from their comfortable slumber and make them realize that Israel has evolved in a direction incompatible with their democratic, anti-slavery, anti-Jim Crow American heritage and shed any sense of “dual loyalty” to Lieberman’s sick state. Israel gravely imperils the Jewish “brand”.

    • seafoid on November 13, 2012, 7:06 pm

      Israel debases judaism.

    • Mooser on November 14, 2012, 7:27 pm

      “Israel gravely imperils the Jewish “brand”.”

      Oh wow, I came upon that unexpectedly, and it was like kick in the kishkas.
      What have I done today (or ever, darn it) to improve, not imperil, the Jewish brand? Not a gosh-darn thing! Bupkis or….even less, if you want the truth.
      A shondah, fo’ sho’!
      I mean, up till yesterday, when I googled it, I thought a “Bar-Mitzvah” was was buying everybody drinks.

  2. seafoid on November 13, 2012, 4:22 pm

    Lieberman is such an ignorant, murderous thug. He reminds me of Fred West, who lived in Gloucester in England and was a serial killer. He murdered the novelist Martin Amis’s cousin, Lucy Partington, in 1973. She had been waiting for a bus.

    Everything about her, even her name, pointed towards the light. Given this, I cannot find order or meaning in a darkness so deep and durable. The death of Lucy Partington represents a fantastic collision (collide: “from col- ‘together’ + laedere ‘to strike'”). It is what happens when darkness meets light, when experience meets innocence, when the false meets the true, when utter godlessness meets purity of spirit, when this –

    Hi May it your Dad Writeing to you. or lette me have your telephone number… or Write to me as soon as you can, please may I have to sort out watt Mr Ogden did to me, my new solicitors are Brilliant I Read What you sead about me in News of the that was loylty you read what Scott canavan sead he had –

    meets this –

    things are as big as you make them –
    I can fill a whole body,
    a whole day of life
    with worry
    about a few words
    on one scrap of paper;
    yet, the same evening,
    looking up,
    can frame my fingers
    to fit the sky
    in my cupped hands.

  3. Krauss on November 13, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Yet, astoundingly, this is the man that Abraham Foxman of the ADL, a self-described ‘civil rights activist’, defends without failing. He has even called criticism of Lieberman ‘overblown’.

    Maybe it isn’t only Israel that needs a democratic – and truly liberal – shakeup in Jewish communal affairs.

    • seafoid on November 14, 2012, 1:24 am

      The chasm between Israeli and American Jews is only going to get wider.

      “When it comes to a choice between Jewish or Democratic Israel it has to be Jewish” essentially means “if we have to choose either fascist or Jewish Israel I’d be happy to take both”.

      Very hard to see even Fox selling that.

      Birthright will be so interesting next year.

      Foxman has painted himself into a corner. He’s all for anti racism except in Israel which is held to no standard whatsoever.

    • Woody Tanaka on November 14, 2012, 9:32 am

      Abe Foxman is no “civil rights activist.” He’s an Islamophobic bigot whose only interested in “civil rights” when he can spin into support for zionism.

  4. Woody Tanaka on November 13, 2012, 5:06 pm

    No surprise here. Fascists — from Musolini to Hitler to Lieberman — hate democracy.

  5. pabelmont on November 13, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Lieberman’s tune would change if any (even slight) attempt were made by USA or EU to force Israel by BDS-like actions — such as ending annual gifts from USA, removal of ambassadors, suspension of commercial airtraffic, suspension of payments to Israel for agricultural exports, or suspension of payments to Israel for all exports — (ahem) to force Israel to remove all settlers, dismantle all settlements and the wall, or ANYTHING LIKE IT. Any such goal and any such sanction. The bigger the better.

    I hope something along those lines happens BEFORE the Israeli election, just as Palestine makes its bid for quasi-state-status at UN.

  6. Abdul-Rahman on November 13, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Someone would certainly have to pay me to actually sit and listen to this fascist Avigdor Lieberman prattle on. And as I’ve posted before, all this fascism from Lieberman becomes quite humorous in the view of the inability of the Israeli apartheid system to even offer any form of a legitimate interpretation of HOW EXACTLY the modern day state of Israel is an alleged “Jewish state”?!! As activist Henry Lowi has so accurately noted before;

    “Israel is not a ‘Jewish state’ in the sense that its laws are based on Halacha. They are not. It is not a ‘Jewish state’ in the sense that most Jewish people live there or plan to live there. They do not. It is a ‘Jewish state’ only in the sense that the Jewish ethnic group enjoys privileges that are denied other ethnic groups, and that within the Jewish ethnic group much misery is caused by there being a state monopoly to define ‘who is a Jew’. … The State of Israel is ethnic nationalism institutionalized and gone wild. With all the limitations of historical analogies, Israel is a ‘Jewish state’ in the sense that racist South Africa was a Boer state and in the sense that Nazi Germany was an Aryan state. In short, there is nothing ‘Jewish’ worth preserving in the ‘Jewish state’.”

    And as for Lieberman’s silly statements about “religion” being “tied to nationality”; this is only his and his fascist Zionist crews invention (as people like Professor Shlomo Sand and others have demonstrated clearly). Also I don’t think many Orthodox Jews themselves (especially the religious anti-Zionist ones) would have any agreement with Lieberman on that topic

    As these Orthodox anti-Zionist Jews state clearly: “Throughout history, whoever joined the Jewish religion was called a Jew, no matter what his race, and whoever abandoned the Holy Torah was not considered a Jew”

    (of course with “race” itself only being a social construct). It is clearly becoming all the more imperative for Jews who stand for human rights (like those on this site and in many Jewish human rights groups) to completely denounce fascists like Lieberman. As Lieberman and his gang are obviously attempting to take a Jewish culture that has often stood with the oppressed and stood for human rights; and falsely tie all Jews to the crimes and depravities of modern Zionism.

    • pjdude on November 14, 2012, 3:43 am

      for me at least saying that their religion is tied to their nationality( which lets be honest is bs their ” nationality” is tied to their religion) is fundemental an admission that jews aren’t a nation. because a nation doesn’t just disappear if it changes religions.

      if the italians stop being catholic they don’t stop being italian, but if jews switch faiths than their is no jewish “nation”.

      • tokyobk on November 14, 2012, 7:05 am

        Yes, someone who moves from Italy, denies being Italian is no longer Italian. Someone whose family moved to the US at the turn of the 20th century to South Philadelphia and still after three or four generations calls herself “Italian,” however, gets to be Italian just because she says so. Someone whose last African ancestor was born in 1810 can still call themselves and be African-American because they want to. Lots of non Sharia adherent people consider themselves to be part of the Islamic Ummah and they are. The Jewish self-described nation in particular has always had non and formerly religious people who still identify with it, in fact the most interesting Jews of the last few centuries probably belong in this category.
        Despite an Zionists and anti-Zionist agenda, Israel is a lot less important to this equation than imagined.

      • pjdude on November 14, 2012, 4:19 pm

        your making a couple of mistakes. firstly I was refering solely to nationality being altered with out changing nationality. secondly your equating ethnicity and nationality. yes some who moves from itilay is no longer an italian national but if they had italian ethnicity that wouldn’t change. and the jews can claim to be a nation all they want doesn’t change the fact that are a religion albit one with a hyper inflated sense of self worth.

      • Inanna on November 14, 2012, 5:49 pm

        Stop conflating political and religious categories. Italians can only be from Italy but Catholics can be from anywhere. Religion and nationality are two separate things in most countries but Israel has made religion into nationality to the detriment of Judaism. But don’t worry. Israel will go the way of Lebanon, another country in the Middle East which was set up for the benefit of a religious grouping. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Ashkenazim.

      • Mooser on November 14, 2012, 6:47 pm

        “Despite an Zionists and anti-Zionist agenda, Israel is a lot less important to this equation than imagined.”

        Sure, it’s just a little local aberration or something, a mere blip on Jewish history, which we’ll all look back on and laugh about, like bell-bottoms, someday. Hey, no harm, no foul, y’know?

  7. JuliaNoel on November 13, 2012, 6:39 pm

    This disgusting human being is beyond redemption. And, unless Jewish religious leaders worldwide start mobilizing against these murderous bigots Judaism will forever be tainted with supporting a state that commits war crimes. The irony of Zionists and Nazis both categorizing human beings into Jew and non-Jew is lost on such hateful people.

    • Mooser on November 14, 2012, 6:54 pm

      “And, unless Jewish religious leaders worldwide start mobilizing against these murderous bigots Judaism will forever be tainted with supporting a state that commits war crimes.”

      JuliaNoel, while I can certainly agree with your disgust, you seem to be under some kind of misconception concerning the Government of Israel. The Government of Israel is under no obligation at all to pay any attention whatsoever to “Jewish religious leaders worldwide”.

      You say: “Judaism will forever be tainted with supporting a state that commits war crimes” but you see, people can’t think that, because it would be anti-Semitic.

  8. piotr on November 13, 2012, 6:53 pm

    pabelmont: I had the same idea before, basically, why should we try to reinvent the wheel! Just copy the sanctions imposed on Iran (then you would not forget details like banning insurance on cargoes to and from Israel rather than air traffic).

    Also, with twin sets of sanction in place, one could exploit human nature: threaten Israel that if it will not dismantle the settlements, sanctions on Iran will be dropped (and symmetrically). If the defiance can cause hardship and preserve the national honor, it can be popular, but if it means helping people we hate …

  9. gingershot on November 13, 2012, 7:11 pm

    Avigdor Lieberman IS Israel and Israel deserves Lieberman

    This may be cynical but I can think of no better poster child for Apartheid than this lunatic and think he will be the ideal Israeli PM to preside over watching Apartheid being dismantled out from underneath his feet

    Can you imagine what this Borat is going to do when the Palestinians start winning cases at the ICC? – he’s going to go out with an ax and start price-tagging olive trees himself

  10. DaveS on November 13, 2012, 8:50 pm

    What I find striking is that the money quote here — “when it comes down to the choice btw Jewish or Democratic Israel it has to be Jewish” — is not an expression of “extremism” in Israel. In fact, it is the essence of the Jewish State. I would guess that even liberal Zionists, genuinely liberal people like Peter Beinart, would be forced to agree. They start with the position that the existence of the Jewish State trumps all other considerations such as equality and democracy. This quote is both shocking and mainstream, and illustrates the moral bankruptcy of the concept of a Jewish State. “Liberals” just try to minimize and/or postpone the contradiction, and people like Lieberman don’t give a shit.

    There is an immediate contradiction between the Jewish State and democracy presented by the occupation, but even within Israel proper, the percentage of non-Jewish citizens is about 20% and slowly creeping higher. Within several decades, it might very well reach a number in which green-line Israel will not be able to sustain itself as a Jewish State, even if there is a separate Palestine. What then? Disenfranchisement of Israeli citizens? Forced “transfer” of the ethnically undesirable? Or would Zionists, liberal and Lieberman alike, allow the end of their dream?

    • seafoid on November 14, 2012, 4:04 am

      This is the Jewish prison. The people are G-d’s chosen children (copyright A Foxman). The covenant with G-d secured them the land (copyright Lieberman, Danon, Netanyahu, whoever ) . They therefore have carte blanche to do what they want on that property.

      Property rights and a covenant with G-d. Scripture fulfilment on the side. Unbeatable.

      Such a tragedy.

  11. DICKERSON3870 on November 13, 2012, 10:41 pm

    ● RE: “Israeli fm Lieberman: separation of religion and state not possible in Israel we r only nation in world whose religion tied to nationality” ~ tweeted by Amir Mizroch

    ● MY COMMENT: Uri Avnery attributes this to Herzl’s “white lie”.


    [EXCERPTS] The Israeli Interior Ministry recognizes 126 nations, but not the Israeli nation. An Israeli citizen can be registered as belonging to the Assyrian, the Tatar or the Circassian nation. But the Israeli nation? Sorry, no such thing.
    According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation. In other words, it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations. Messy? Indeed.
    THIS MESS started 113 years ago, when the Viennese Journalist Theodor Herzl wrote his book “The State of the Jews”. (That’s the true translation. The generally used name “The Jewish State” is false and means something else.) For this purpose he had to perform an acrobatic exercise. One can say that he used a white lie.
    Modern Zionism was born as a direct response to modern anti-Semitism. Not by accident, the term “Zionismus” came into being some 20 years after the term “Antisemitismus” was invented in Germany. They are twins. . .
    . . . Herzl understood that the new reality was inherently dangerous for the Jews. In the beginning he cherished the idea of complete assimilation: all the Jews would be baptized and disappear in the new nations. As a professional writer for the theater, he even devised the scenario: all Viennese Jews would march together to St. Stephen’s cathedral and be baptized en masse.
    When he realized that this scenario was a bit far-fetched, Herzl passed from the idea of individual assimilation to what may be called collective assimilation: if there is no place for the Jews in the new nations, then they should define themselves as a nation like all the others</b, rooted in a homeland of their own and living in a state of their own. This idea was called Zionism.
    BUT THERE was a problem: a Jewish nation did not exist. The Jews were not a nation but a religious-ethnic community. . . Herzl had to ignore this difference. He pretended that the Jewish ethnic-religious community was also a Jewish nation. In other words: contrary to all other peoples, the Jews were both a nation and a religious community; as far as Jews were concerned, the two were the same. The nation was a religion, the religion was a nation.
    This was the white lie. There was no other way: without it, Zionism could not have come into being. The new movement took the Star of David from the synagogue, the candlestick from the Temple, the blue-and-white flag from the prayer shawl. The holy land became a homeland. Zionism filled the religious symbols with secular, national content. . . The first to detect the falsification were the Orthodox Rabbis. Almost all of them damned Herzl and his Zionism in no uncertain terms.
    When Herzl originated the Zionist idea, he did not intend to found the “State of the Jews” in Palestine, but in Argentina. Even when writing his book, he devoted to the country only a few lines, under the headline “Palestine or Argentina?” However, the movement he created compelled him to divert his endeavors to the Land of Israel, and so the state came into being here.
    When the State of Israel was founded and the Zionist dream realized, there was no further need for the white lie . . .

    . . . [W]hy do the words “Jewish state” appear in our [Israel’s] Declaration of Independence? There was a simple reason for that: the UN had adopted a resolution to partition the country between an “Arab state” and a “Jewish state.” That was the legal basis of the new state. The declaration, which was drafted in haste, said therefore that we were establishing “the Jewish state (according to the UN resolution), namely the State of Israel.”…
    . . . LIKE MOST of us at the time [of the founding of Israel in 1948], David Ben-Gurion believed that Zionism had supplanted religion and that religion had become redundant. He was quite sure that it would shrivel and disappear by itself in the new secular state. He decided that we could afford to dispense with the military service of Yeshiva bochers (Talmud school students), believing that their number would dwindle from a few hundred to almost none. The same thought caused him to allow religious schools to continue in existence. Like Herzl, who promised to “keep our Rabbis in the synagogues and our army officers in the barracks,” Ben-Gurion was certain that the state would be entirely secular. . .
    . . . BUT THE white lie of Herzl had results he did not dream of, as did the compromises of Ben-Gurion. Religion did not wither away in Israel, but on the contrary: it is gaining control of the state. The government of Israel does not speak of the nation-state of the Israelis who live here, but of the “nation-state of the Jews” – a state that belongs to the Jews all over the world, most of whom belong to other nations.
    The religious schools are eating up the general education system and are going to overpower it, if we don’t become aware of the danger and assert our Israeli essence. Voting rights are about to be accorded to Israelis residing abroad, and this is a step towards giving the vote to all Jews around the world. And, most important: the ugly weeds growing in the national-religious field – the fanatical settlers – are pushing the state in a direction that may lead to its destruction. . .

    SOURCE –


  12. DICKERSON3870 on November 13, 2012, 11:01 pm

    ● RE: “Israel’s foreign minister: when it comes down to the choice btw Jewish or Democratic Israel it has to be Jewish. What do #JFNAGA folks say?” ~ tweeted from Israel by Amir Mizroch
    AND RE: “The ‘JFNAGA’ refers to the Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly which is taking place now in Baltimore.” ~ Adam Horowitz

    ● MY COMMENT: As to what the #JFNAGA folks say regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s choosing “Jewish Israel” over “Democratic Israel”, the article (by Richard Silverstein) excerpted below might provide a clue or two.

    ● SEE: “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/17/10

    [EXCERPTS] What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .
    . . . The Israeli finance website, Calcalist, reports that John Hagee donated $120,000 to Im Tirzu in 2009 through the Jewish Agency. The money had been transferred to the [Jewish] Agency by the Houston Jewish Federation as part of an overall $5-million gift. $3-million of that came from [John Hagee’s] CUFI and went towards its largely pro-settler Israel philanthropy. Hagee passed the gift through the Agency in order to qualify for a U.S. tax deduction. . .
    . . . A second article in the Calcalist makes this important point:

    “The Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations] supports organization’s from the Israeli lunatic right, which are attempting to destroy the values of academic freedom in Israeli higher education.”

    The Agency, a body whose mission it is to bring new immigrants to settle in the Holy Land, instead transfers very large sums to poisonous organizations which seek legitimacy in attacking academics who’ve actually done something in their lives, having not just written propaganda exposes divorced from any reality.
    The columnist concludes by noting the absolute insanity of the Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI] providing funding to an organization that wishes to unleash the thought police on Israeli universities. . .


  13. upsidedownism on November 14, 2012, 5:41 am

    what can be said for Lieberman, is that he is the only major zionist politician who is honest.

    Zionism is an ethnic cleansing non-democratic philosophy; ‘liberal’ zionists simply can not admit this obvious truth.

  14. amigo on November 14, 2012, 8:49 am

    The latest fiasco from Lieberman.

    He must be running scared. Wants to avoid having that ICC noose around his considerable neck.

    • on November 14, 2012, 6:27 pm

      “Wants to avoid having that ICC noose around his considerable neck.”
      Did they forget to tell you? The ICC is not in Nuremberg, and it does not hand death sentences (nowadays reserved to exasperated private persons instead of courts.)

  15. Misterioso on November 14, 2012, 7:09 pm

    Israel: 64 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

    Israel Ranked World’s Most Militarized Nation:

    Latest from Uri Avnery, eminent Israeli journalist and former member of Knesset,
    (courtesy of Adam Keller, Gush Shalom):

    “Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak have decided – for the second time in a row the State of Israel will conduct general elections under the shadow of war in the Gaza Strip. The cease-fire which already started to stabilize has been broken deliberately and shattered to pieces. The inhabitants of the communities of southern Israel, who just started to breathe freely, are sent right back to air raid alarms and to running to shelters.”

    “At the price of great suffering on both sides of the border, the government’s aim has been accomplished: the social issues, which threatened to assume prominence in these elections, have been pushed aside and removed from the agenda of the elections campaign. Forgotten, too, is the brave attempt of Mahmoud Abbas to address the Israeli public opinion. In the coming weeks, the headlines will be filled with constant war and death, destruction and bloodshed. When it ends at last, it will be revealed that no goal has been achieved and that the problems remain the same, or perhaps exacerbated.”

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