Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Avigdor Lieberman Rises to New Levels of Jackassery

Jackassery isn't a word, but it should be. Our Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has taken his stupidity and thuggishness to new heights and surely he deserves to have a new word created in his honor.

I used to cringe when Israel's critics described Lieberman as a fascist, but now there's not much you can say about the man that will upset me. I still don't think it's fair to call him a fascist, however. He doesn't have the intellectual capacity to form an ideology, so he can't properly be described as having one as complex as fascism.

What has got me so worked up? Yesterday Lieberman spoke out on his party's new bill to investigate NGOs to determine the source of their funding. On the face of it, this appears to be a legitimate goal. Political organizations that receive funding from foreign countries should be upfront about the sources of the money. So if this was a general overview of all political organizations to make sure they are following the guidelines of full disclosure that would be OK. But Lieberman makes it clear that is not the case:
Speaking at the opening of a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting, Lieberman accused opponents of the probe of presenting false facts about the proposal, and those who groups which would be investigated.
"[The proposed probe] does not include the Geneva Initiative and Peace Now, which are legitimate, and there is no intention to investigate groups that are truly involved in politics and human rights," Lieberman said. "The only groups to be investigated are those whoses [sic] goals are to deter the IDF from its fight against terrorism."
"Looking at the facts, we are asking why don't they protest about Gilad Shalit. They always argue that Israel is not right. These are organizations that aid terrorism, and whose goals are to weaken the IDF and the state of Israel.
So basically Lieberman has come out and says that the organizations will be investigated because of their political orientation and not some objective legal framework. Lieberman, apparently thinking he is the king of Israel, says that organization "A" is ok, but clearly organization "B" is not.

How is this even remotely OK. If Lieberman wants to set a legal standard about countries that can't be used as sources of funding, or if he wants to make sure that organizations are clear in the reporting of their funding those are legitimate issues.

But when you start saying that organizations have to tow a specific political line, then you are policing people's thoughts and that goes against one of the most basic tenets of democracy.

Again, I don't think this proves that Lieberman is against democracy. He just doesn't understand what it means. Lieberman has the political knowledge and sophistication of those weird crazy people who start up conversations with you while you're waiting for the bus. It's extremely depressing that he somehow managed to slime his way into the role of Foreign Minister.

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