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Red Rag column: Defence Minister Lieberman; Yair Golan; Vanunu
By: Gideon Spiro
26 May 2016

Lieberman – is it time to prepare the bunkers?

The appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Defence Minister provoked fear among many in Israel, who are asking themselves if we are on the verge of a series of new wars. Those who take seriously Lieberman’s declarations over the years regarding the conflict have cause for concern. And moreover, it is remarkable how fast outgoing Defence Minister Yaalon was converted into a “moral” figure. The kibbutznik from Grofit, who only a few weeks ago described the Breaking the Silence people as traitors, who bears responsibility for the war-crimes of Operation Solid Cliff, [1] for which the Right raised him on their shoulders as a hero, who during his years of military service accumulated hundreds of extra-judicial executions of Palestinians similar to the murderer in Hebron (referred to in sanitized language as “the shooting soldier”), is no gatekeeper of democracy, but a manifestation of the decadence of the Labour movement.

Will Lieberman be worse than Yaalon? I envisage two main scenarios: one, that Lieberman will surprise us with relative moderation. This prognosis is based on his corruption. Lieberman is the most corrupt minister in the corrupt government of Israel. He is something on a Putinite scale. The position of Defence Minister is budgetary gravy-train that opens horizons for financial manoeuvres to fill his bank accounts spread all over the world. This preoccupation will leave him with so little time and energy for military matters that the harm he can do will be minimized. The other scenario assumes that he will go crazy and reveal himself to be an adventurist whose proximity to the red nuclear button will render him particularly dangerous. In which case he will take Israel to the abyss and some disappointed military officer will attempt to assassinate him, as happened in Germany.

A weird reality could be created in which part of the military elite tries to rein in the politicians of the extreme Right. The appointment of Lieberman emphasizes again the importance of divesting the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, starting with Israel, which introduced nuclear weapons into the region.

Deputy Chief of Staff

The declarations of Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan, on the eve of Holocaust Day, in which he drew a comparison between what is happening in Israel and what happened in Germany at the beginning of the 1930s, was correct on the factual level, but was inadequate on the political level. Golan is part of the processes of brutalization and desensitization of which he spoke. He has served in the Occupation army since the day he first enlisted, and taken part in all the atrocities of the Occupation and defence of the settlements, where the seed of Israeli fascism found fertile soil. If Golan wants his words to be taken seriously, he must resign from the army, join Breaking the Silence and apologize to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples for his actions throughout his military career.

The abuse of Vanunu continues

The desire of the Israel Security Agency and its branches (the Defence Ministry Security Authority and the State Attorney) to torment Mordechai Vanunu is insatiable. Now they have decided to put him on trial for “offences” worthy of the North Korean regime. He is accused of having changed his place of residence without notifying the police, even though he remained at the same address, having simply moved from the first floor to the second floor. And he is also accused of revealing “secrets” in the interview he gave on Channel 2, which was approved for broadcast by the censor. Channel 2 now faces a hard test in the coarsening Israeli reality: will it mobilize its popularity for the struggle against the injustice and evil of the Israeli regime, or will it throw Mordechai to the attack-dogs of the security services?

Translator’s note

1. Usually called “Operation Protective Edge” in English.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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