But perhaps we should take a look at Lieberman again in light of his much-condemned United Nations General Assembly speech yesterday and instead feel glad that the true face of Israel is shining to the world because of his position of power.

Avigdor Lieberman’s UN Speech Shows the True Face of Israel

By Alex Kane

PHOTO: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York.

Yisrael Beiteinu’s strong third-place showing in Israel’s February 2009 elections for the Knesset was met with dread and disgust from many different quarters. Avigdor Lieberman, the founder and leader of the far-right party and the current Foreign Minister, ran a campaign filled with fascist overtones as he called for “loyalty oaths” to be signed by Palestinian citizens of Israel.

But perhaps we should take a look at Lieberman again in light of his much-condemned United Nations General Assembly speech yesterday and instead feel glad that the true face of Israel is shining to the world because of his position of power.

At the UN, Lieberman called for a “long-term intermediate agreement” instead of a solution dealing with all the final-status issues, dismissed the notion that the occupation and colonization of Palestine is at the core of the conflict and proposed a deal with the Palestinians that would be “about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities.”  Although Lieberman claimed that he was not talking about “moving populations,” it’s apparent that Lieberman’s plan would result in the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state, all in the service of making Israel an “ethnically pure” Jewish state.

Reactions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Jewish leaders were swift, and the media narrative laid out is that Lieberman’s speech revealed “differences” within Israeli politics about the “peace process.”  The New York Times reports today that “sharp differences within the Israeli government over peace negotiations played out in the unusual setting of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.”

Netanyahu’s office distanced the prime minister from the speech and said that Lieberman’s speech was “not coordinated” with Netanyahu and that Netanyahu wants “direct talks” with the Palestinian Authority to go forward.

The reaction from Netanyahu was about promoting the image of Israel as willing to sit down and negotiate for peace with the Palestinians, which Lieberman’s speech did damage to.  But that’s all it was about–Netanyahu and the State of Israel’s policies are completely in line with Lieberman’s plan of ethnically cleansing the non-Jewish citizens of Israel and of continuing to colonize the West Bank.

Under Netanyahu, the Bedouin village of Al Araqib has been destroyed multiple times to make way for a Jewish National Fund “ambassador forest.”  Netanyahu has presided over the continued colonization of the West Bank, despite talk of a “settlement freeze,” and that’s likely to accelerate in the coming weeks.  An recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling has Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah worried about further dispossession at the hands of Jewish settlers, and Silwan in East Jerusalem is still under the threat of home demolitions to make way for Israeli settlements and a theme park.

The list can go on and on.  Actions speak much louder than words, and the State of Israel under Netanyahu has continued routine Israeli policies of land theft, colonization and slow ethnic cleansing.  That’s not much different than the Israel Lieberman showed at the UN yesterday in words.  Maybe that’s a good thing; the true, ugly face of Israeli policy, which the Palestinians know all-too-well, was shown to the world, further confirming that the “peace talks” are useless, and that Netanyahu is playing a public relations game for the international community while the status quo is sustained.



Jared Malsin adds the following….

Lieberman endorses ethnic cleansing at UN

I’ve been traveling, so I’m slow to blog about these developments, but it’s important to note in this space Israeli Foreign Minister (and settler) Avigdor Lieberman’s endorsement at the UN of a “population exchange” to accompany the creation of a Palestinian state. Here are the key paragraphs from his speech to the General Assembly:
Thus, the guiding principle for a final status agreement must not be land-for-peace but rather, exchange of populated territory. Let me be very clear: I am not speaking about moving populations, but rather about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not an extraordinary insight, and is far less controversial than some may seek to claim. In fact, precisely this notion – that a mismatch between borders and nationalities is a recipe for conflict – has long been accepted as a virtual truism in the academic community.

Leading scholars and highly respected research institutions have even coined the term “Right-Sizing the State” to capture the idea that states and nations must be in balance in order to ensure peace. This is not a controversial political policy. It is an empirical truth.

Netanyahu of course immediately distanced himself from Lieberman’s remarks, as if he were not the foreign minister in his government. This raises the question of why Lieberman, who is usually sequestered away from important diplomacy, was sent to speak at the UN in the first place. Tony Karon suggests that the play here was to “make Bibi’s hardline seem reasonable” by comparison.

The other remarkable thing about Lieberman’s position on this issue is that ideologically more in common with Tzipi Livni and those in the Israeli political “center” who want to maintain a jewish majority no matter the cost.

This further underscores the revelation in Noam Sheizaf’s reporting on Israeli right-wingers who support the one state solution: the important dividing line in Israeli politics may not be between “left” and “right” as defined in the Knesset, but between those who support equal rights for Palestinians and those who don’t, between those who favor partition and those willing to contemplate other scenarios.


  1. September 30, 2010 at 19:08

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Rivero and FederalJack, Kelly. Kelly said: ISRAEL’S ‘TRUE FACE’ REVEALED AT UNITED NATIONS: But perhaps we should take a look at Lieberman a… #flotilla #israel […]

  2. Milton said,

    September 30, 2010 at 23:38

    “We must define our position and lay down basic principles for a settlement. Our demands should be moderate and balanced, and appear to be reasonable. But in fact they must involve such conditions as to ensure that the enemy rejects them. Then we should manoeuvre and allow him to define his own position, and reject a settlement on the basis of a compromise solution. We should then publish his demands as embodying unreasonable extremism.” – General Yehoshafat Harkabi, Ma’ariv, 2 November 1973.

    “The state of Israel must invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the methods of provocation and revenge…. And above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.” — From the diary of Moshe Sharett, Israeli’s first Foreign Minister from 1948-1956, and Prime Minister from 1954-1956.

  3. brian said,

    October 1, 2010 at 05:26

    Ethnicn cleansing at the UN! AND did anyone walk out? The 27 member EU? No?
    Australia canada, ….NO/NOONE walked out?
    well…just the victims..the palestinians….
    the big issue should be is the NON-response of those who were upset by President Ahmadinejads speech..

  4. October 1, 2010 at 11:57

    […] (DesertPeace) – Avigdor Lieberman’s UN Speech Shows the True Face of Israel – Read More Here […]

  5. pabelmont said,

    October 3, 2010 at 01:58

    I am entranced by the idea of Israel (post peace treaty) honeycombed with little bits of Palestine (connected, one hopes, by Palestinian-citizens-ONLY roads) just as, presumably the Jewish settlements in OPTs will become little bits of Israel (connected to Israel by Israeli-citizens-only roads), thus inconveniencing EVERYONE immeasurably.

  6. S said,

    October 3, 2010 at 11:22

    Ethnic cleansing are widespread killings coupled with discrimination.

    Israel’s speech in the UN didn’t promote ethnic cleansing. Lieberman was talking about moving the borders to create a viable Palestinian state.

    At the moment there are no fixed borders around the West Bank – just a 1967 Green line. So it makes sense to fix some borders to create Palestine. He presumably wants some Palestinian towns in the future Palestine, and some Jewish towns/settlements in Israel. Therein lies negotiations.

    And what will happen to those Palestinian-Israeli’s that want to stay in Israel rather than move? Or the Israeli’s in the West Bank that want to stay in the future Palestine rather than move?

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