Monsieur Guillotine

Anyone familiar with Max Blumenthal’s worrisome Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel will have a feel for the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Since arriving in Israel back in the 1970s from then Soviet Union he has been a thug, gangster and now a government minister. The type of people that followed him from his former place of domicile were skinhead gangs with a love of attacking foreigners and people not of a white skin colour. Blumenthal describes how their sense of Jewishness was sometimes manifested in their attacks on holocaust survivors and the daubing of swastikas on Synagogues.

Eight young immigrants from the former Soviet Union reportedly "who belonged to a homegrown neo-Nazi cell" were arrested on charges of: 

brutal beatings of homosexuals, guest workers, drug addicts, homeless people and ultra-orthodox Jews. A video presented by police to the Israeli cabinet on Sunday documented some of the violence: It showed skinheads kicking victims to a bloody pulp and giving Nazi salutes.

The type of thing you imagine happens anywhere in the world but Israel where it was reported in 2007 that “the notion of neo-Nazis ... is still so odd that the government has no laws against anti-Semitism.”

The type of immigration that forms the backdrop to this sort of behaviour is fuelled by the desire of the Zionist leadership to win the demographic battle with the Palestinians. Pack the place out with people claiming to be Jewish and the status quo can stay in place. Linked to the increasing clericalisiation on of the country by the religious right Israel has been for some time nurturing a fascist atmosphere in which the political fortune of less urbane and sophisticated fascists like Liebermann can prosper. 

Leader of the far right racist party, Yisrael Beiteinu and author of the Lieberman Plan which is meant to further dispossess and exile Palestinians, his antipathy towards Arabs is pretty well much established. But the arrogance of Zionism is matched only by its boundless hypocrisy.

It is customary in modern times to hear the very strident but justified criticism of the fascists of Islamic State for the barbarity of their actions including the decapitation that they have a penchant for and which has fuelled a wave of hysterical interest in Jihad John. Anybody, such as the staff of Cage, found trying to explain, not justify, why Jihad John became what he is, finds themselves pilloried from all directions. How dare they, how could they ... ad infinitum.

Yet here we have the foreign minister of Israel, supposedly the country's leading diplomat, calling for Arabs who are not loyal to Israel to be beheaded:

Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.

So what now will be said of Liebermann? Is he to be lambasted as a barbarian or savage or is the same double standard to apply? Our Madame Guillotine good, your Madame Guillotine bad. If Boris Johnson is to have any consistency rather than credibility (that is always in the eye of the beholder and there are enough beholders) he would come out and hammer anybody who tries to make excuses for Lieberman or offers that hotly contested entity called context.

What is good for the goose ...


  1. The hypocrisy of the British will not allow for this. Besides ISIS and it's beheading, they are continually ranting on about arresting, charging and imprisoning returning Jihadis yet not one mention of those British citizens who went of to fight for the Israeli Defense Forces in Gazza and who committed crimes against humanity...again!

  2. Not only that but it seems that only the countries least thought of by NATO are done for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The war criminal favourites on the other hand get plaudits and invitations to banquets.

    There has been much debate on here about IRA war crimes. Whether or not you agree with this argument until the war crimes tribunal and international courts look at things on a level basis and prosecute the Israelis as well as the Serbs and the British start prosecuting their own instead of just the few loyalist fall guys and Republicans the law will appear to be an ass.

    And following on from that biased version of justice there will come more injustice and the so-called international community will look even more foolish.

    It's just nepotism on a national scale.

  3. I can't see uvf supergrass Gary Haggerty winning his argument that since he was working as a state agent he had a license to carry out his terrorism. No one legally has a license to murder.

    If the courts accept his argument then they'll be accepting that state agencies can murder innocent civilians with impunity. We have seen that state immunity from prosecution has previously been the case but it has never been admitted.

    It is unlikely the judge will make de facto policy into de jure policy.

    That is one reason why the loyalist in question is a fall guy.

  4. From Sarah Heaton

    Avigdor Lieberman is an out and out thug. Everyone knows that.

    Israel's right of return laws embraced hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens who had very weak, if any, links to Judaism, but they allowed them in simply to increase the number of "on paper" Jews in order to "win" the demographic war against the Arabs.

    Niall, I think you have a good point re returning Jihadis. Thing is, it's a very recent phenomena re ISIS. Young British Jews have been going to Israel to join Mahal Brigades for decades, and I do agree with your point to a certain extent.

    Prior to the internet age - which really wasn't very long ago - the only source of information that young British Jews had about Israel was a skewed, romantic view, handed down through the generations with a holocaust survivor or two in the background adding weight to the argument. It was often the case that all you knew was what you read in the JC, and your parents would be forever wringing their hands and the rabbi would be offering up prayers for plucky little Israel, the only democracy in the middle east. It was very easy to conflate what you knew, or thought you knew, which turned out to be hutzpah, with genuine humanitarian values, and the only way to try to make things right was, one thought, to head to Israel and try to help.

    I think one has to excuse anyone who went before the mid 90s simply because prior to then it was very difficult to know what the situation really was. Seriously - who could imagine, at that time, that everything they'd ever heard, believed or been taught was a lie?

    I think your point is valid re people who have gone to join the IDF for the last 20 years. Prior to that I think one has to give the benefit of the doubt re what people did or did not know.