Labor head slams Liberman’s ‘wild and irresponsible’ speech

By focusing on foreign affairs, Likud-Beytenu diverting public attention from ‘soft underbelly’ of economic issues, Yachimovich charges

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is “corrupt and dangerous,” Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich said on Wednesday, branding Liberman’s Tuesday speech, in which the foreign minister slammed European governments for their perceived indifference to Israeli issues, “extremist, wild and irresponsible.”

In a lengthy Hebrew post on her Facebook page, Yachimovich charged that Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were trying to divert attention from economic and social issues, which she said were the “soft underbelly” of the political alliance between their respective Yisrael Beytenu and Likud parties.

In a speech the previous day in Tel Aviv, Liberman said that while Europe rushed to condemn any settlement activity in the West Bank, it regarded with equanimity the prospect of the Jewish state’s demise.

“Many European Union foreign ministers simply ignore reality,” the foreign minister said. “As far as they’re concerned, the destruction of Israel is a matter of course.”

According to Yachimovich, in evoking “images of the Holocaust” and “stirring up the winds of extremism,” comments made by Liberman and Netanyahu were “extremist, wild and irresponsible.” Such speeches, she claimed, were designed to keep the political discussion focused on the arena in which Netanyahu and Liberman feel most comfortable.

“Netanyahu remembers well his stinging defeat in the 2006 elections, after his cruel term as finance minister,” Yachimovich wrote. “The public punished him for it, and he is afraid it will happen again.”

“Liberman is a corrupt and dangerous man,” Yachimovich continued. “With patent cynicism he helps Netanyahu do whatever he wants, as long as it doesn’t have to do with what’s important to you,” she said, calling on voters not to let the foreign minister determine the agenda for the January 22 national elections.

Speaking again on Wednesday morning, Liberman reiterated that the European governments would sacrifice Israel “without batting an eyelid,” and claimed that Israel was singled out for international censure because of “oil interests,” while brutality in other countries like Afghanistan or Syria went unchallenged.

Israel “will not be a second Czechoslovakia,” he said, referring to the 1938 takeover of that country by the German Nazi regime, which occurred despite international assurances and treaties.

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