Netanyahu may be tough enough to cow President Obama, but to date, he has been afraid to reign in his fanatical Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. His plan to” weaken” Turkey described below in the Israeli outlet YnetNews suggests that time is running out.
One thing is clear from Lieberman’s outrageous proposals to sow dissension in Turkey by supporting anti-Turkish claims of Armenians and Kurds: it will blow back to unify and harden Turkish attitudes. Israel’s opportunistic cynicism and lack of a moral center revealed by these proposals boggles the mind — this is particularly true of its flip flop on the recognizing the Armenian holocaust after decades of opposing such recognition on the grounds that it diminished the moral stature of Jewish holocaust.
But these proposals are more than outrageous; they set a new standard for self-referencing stupidity: The Turkish army, which has been one of Israel’s best friends in Turkey, has been in a power struggle with PM Erdogan. The army is fundamentally, however, a proud nationalist institution. The army will have no choice but to side with Erdogan in this conflict with Israel. This will increase Erdogan’s and the ruling AKP party’s political power and give him much more domestic support to tough it out with Israel. And Erdogan is a little like Lieberman, in that he is a self-made tough guy who grew up in the back streets of Istanbul, but he is much smarter and is a true reformer to boot.
Moreover, setting aside personalities of individuals, Turkey, unlike Israel, is not a country burdened down with emotional baggage or a sense that the world owes it. Anyone with a modicum of understanding of Turkish culture knows that it is a proud, self confident culture, with its own sense of history. It is not dependent on handouts from others and is dynamically expanding to the status of being regional power. Finally, a strategy based on the idea that one should publicly back a Turkey into a corner and humiliate her national honor is without a doubt the stupidest way to deal with this proud country.
One can only conclude that a failure to dump Lieberman is a signal that Israel is losing its collective mind and a kind of self-righteous paranoia is displacing common sense in a nuclear armed country. One has to wonder what extent Obama’s pusillanimity in dealing with Netanyahu has contributed to this dangerous evolution.
Jerusalem fights back: Foreign Minister Lieberman formulates series of tough moves in response to Turkish steps; Israel to cooperate with Armenian lobby in US, may offer military aid to Kurdish rebels
Shimon Shiffer, Ynet News, 9 Sept 2011
Autumn 2011 is teeming with disasters and our fate has been entrusted to a handful of cynical politicians, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu
By Gideon Lev, Ha’aretz, 8 Sept 2011