Exit Strategies

All About Avi


As noted by Richard Spencer recently, there's a major split between Israeli nationalists and the mostly Left or liberal Jews who reside in America and Western nations. The current foreign minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman who grew up in the Soviet Union is arguably the most successful and famous Israeli hardliner today.  While much maligned as an out-of-control Likud nationalist, most paleoconservatives would find his positions realistic and restrained. 

First, Lieberman’s proposed peace plan with the Palestinians calls for a two-state solution under which even Arab areas within pre-1967 Israel (such as the city of Umm-al-Fahm) would be ceded to the Palestinian state in exchange for Israel’s annexation of Jewish settlement towns on the Green Line. Lieberman himself lives on a settlement in the West Bank and stated that he’s willing to abandon his own home as part of his peace plan.

Second, the internal policies of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu (Israel is Our Home) Party are also a model of realism and moderation. Lieberman supports the introduction of civil marriage in Israel and an easier conversion policy for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are not considered Jewish by the religious authorities. His party’s delegation in the Knesset includes a Russian-born convert, Anastasia Michaeli. Also, like other Israeli far rightists, Lieberman is opposed to the mass Americanization of Israeli society and the destruction of traditional values.  After all, Jewish women in Israel have about 40,000 abortions a year, drug abuse is rampant, and openly gay soldiers walk around in uniform holding hands.  A visit to secular Tel Aviv makes you think you’re in the Castro district in San Francisco since even the store signs are almost all in English.

However, it is Lieberman’s foreign-policy stance that is most acceptable to the Western far right.  Over the last ten years, Lieberman has reached out to and befriended a number of European far Right parties such as the Dansk Folkeparti and the Vlaams Block. In addition, Lieberman has forged very friendly ties with Russia and other former Soviet Republics. During his visit to Moscow, Vladimir Putin expressed his desire to talk without translators and stated, “it’s nice to meet with someone who knows our country firsthand." The anti-Western Belarusian strongman Aleksandr Lukashenko welcomed Lieberman to “your native soil” and told him that “we rooted for you and your party.”  Also, unlike other Israeli politicians, Lieberman is opposed to American aid, a stance he shares with the late Rabbi Meir Kahane who derided American aid to Israel as both a destructive welfare-like handout and a very dangerous and addictive narcotic.

In sum, traditional conservatives should not be misled by the false image of Lieberman as a crazed Greater Israel fanatic bent on nuking Iran and massacring the Palestinians.  After all, even the rabidly anti-Israel columnist Israel Shamir praised Lieberman as a realist moderate in one of his columns.  There is no reason why the far Right cannot reach an understanding with Avigdor Lieberman and other hard right Israeli politicians.