Bomb Egypt, behead disloyal Arabs: Israel parts ways with 'Jewish ISIS' defense chief
Avigdor Lieberman has resigned as Israel's defense chief, but his inflammatory utterances – ranging from calling for disloyal Arabs to be beheaded, to proposing Egypt be bombed – remain as reminders of his right-wing politics.
Lieberman, who created Israel's right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, resigned as defense minister on Wednesday after denouncing the government's recent ceasefire with Hamas as a "capitulation to terror." If you think that sounds a wee bit immoderate, you clearly have not familiarized yourself with Avigdor Lieberman's decades of imprudent utterances. The politician's peculiar brand of secular nationalism has led to repeated accusations of extremism – even fascism.
Disloyal Arabs should be beheaded
Lieberman has the rare distinction of being perhaps the only Israeli minister to have called for the beheading of Arab citizens. Speaking at an election rally in March 2015, Lieberman – who was serving as Israel's foreign minister at the time – said that Israel's Arab minority, which makes up some 20 percent of the country's population, must show loyalty to the state or face the consequences.
Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off his head. Otherwise we won't survive here.
The provocative remarks were not received well, with one Arab-Israeli legislator demanding an investigation into the comments insisting this is akin to creating "Jewish ISIS."
More recently, Lieberman said that Israeli-Arabs who protested Washington's decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "don't belong" in Israel and "are acting to harm us and destroy us from within." He also called for an economic boycott of Wadi Ara, an Israeli town populated mainly by Arab citizens.
Israel should drown Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea
Lieberman's antipathy for Arabs has been the politician's most consistent policy stance. In July 2003, the then-transportation minister offered to bus Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea – where, according to Lieberman's proposal, they would be drowned.
His suggestion enraged Arab members of the Knesset, with one calling Lieberman's comments "the ultimate fascist statement."
Drop nukes on Hamas?
Lieberman's resignation over Israel's recent ceasefire with Hamas is far from surprising if you consider just how much the Israeli statesman truly loathes the group. In January 2009, Lieberman said that Hamas must be made to "lose the will to fight" – and that Israel should look to the United States' war with Imperial Japan as an example.
We must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II.
He went on to note that the US military was able to defeat the Japanese without occupying the Japanese mainland – a not-so-subtle nod at America's use of atomic bombs to force the Japanese into an unconditional surrender.
Hamas has seized on Lieberman's resignation, describing his departure as a victory for Palestinian resistance.
Knesset members who meet with the Palestinian government should be executed
As far as Lieberman is concerned, any Israeli who supports negotiations with Hamas is a collaborator who should be put to death.
In May 2006, Lieberman called for the execution of any Arab Knesset members who meet with representatives of the Palestinian Authority's Hamas-led government.
"World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials," Lieberman said during a speech in Israel's parliament.
The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].
The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel issued a statement condemning Lieberman, saying that, "A man who compares the Arab MKs [members of Knesset] to the Nazis is apparently an ignoramus who doesn't know what the Nazis did to his own people. Such a man is an embarrassment to the Jewish nation."
A fellow MK and member of Yisrael Beiteinu defended Lieberman's fiery words, noting that he suggested executing "all" collaborators in parliament – not just Arab MKs.
In a similar display of anti-Arab sermonizing from 2003, Lieberman told an Arab MK: "Let me tell you openly. As far as I'm concerned you're much worse than [former Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat …If it was up to me you'd be sitting in jail, at best."
Israel should … bomb Egypt?
At least one of Israel's neighbors is probably relieved by Lieberman's resignation: In 2001, the Israeli politician proposed bombing Egypt's Aswan Dam if Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak stationed troops in Sinai.
"Mubarak continues to act against us and to travel for consultations with Saddam Hussein. If he carries out his threat and puts forces into the Sinai, it would be an example of a (crossing) of the red line to which we would have to respond strongly, including by bombing the Aswan Dam," Lieberman declared.
The military operation would have "murdered all 80 million Egyptians and swept them into the Mediterranean in a vast continental African tsunami," according to Michigan University professor Juan Cole.
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