Call upon Hillary Clinton to cancel meeting with Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Israel MFA)

November 27, 2006
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
P.O. Box 617
Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 725-9294 F
ax: (914) 472-5073

Dear Senator Clinton,

We your constituents respectfully and forcefully request that you cancel your upcoming meeting with Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s newly appointed Minister of Strategic Threats. Please cancel the meeting publicly as a matter of principle that is in the best interests and ideals of the United States of America. As a champion of democracy and human rights, you cannot possibly know about the policies and positions of Mr. Lieberman and his Yisroel Beitenu political party, and still be intending to meet with him. In a recent editorial about his appointment, Haaretz, Israel’s newspaper of record wrote, “…the choice of the most unrestrained and irresponsible man around for this job constitutes a strategic threat in its own right. Lieberman’s lack of restraint and his unbridled tongue, comparable only to those of Iran’s president, are liable to bring disaster down upon the entire region.” We are surprised that your staff has not already done so, but please let us share with you this briefing on his record before you are embarrassed by honoring such a man to a meeting with our esteemed Senator. Here is the record (as compiled by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, IMEU):

  • Lieberman served as Director General of the Likud Party from 1993 to 1996, and as Director General of the Prime Minister’s office from 1996 to 1997. A staunch opponent of the peace process and of any territorial concessions to Palestinians, he resigned this post and left Likud in protest over then-Prime Minister Netanyahu’s signing of the U.S.-brokered Wye River Memorandum.
  • In 1998, Lieberman called for the flooding of Egypt by bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat.
  • In 1999, he founded the Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) party and was first elected to Knesset.
  • In 2001, as Minister of National Infrastructure, Lieberman proposed that the West Bank be divided into four cantons, with no central Palestinian government and no possibility for Palestinians to travel between the cantons.
  • In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman in a Cabinet meeting saying that the Palestinians should be given an ultimatum that “At 8am we’ll bomb all the commercial centers…at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations…at two we’ll bomb their banks…”
  • In 2003, Haaretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.
  • In May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan that called for the transfer of Israeli territory with Palestinian populations to the Palestinian Authority. Likewise, Israel would annex the major Jewish settlement blocs on the Palestinian West Bank. If applied, his plan would strip roughly one-third of Israel’s Palestinian citizens of their citizenship. A “loyalty test” would be applied to those who desired to remain in Israel. …This plan to trade territory with the Palestinian Authority is a revision of Lieberman’s earlier calls for the forcible transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their land. Lieberman stated in April 2002 that there was “nothing undemocratic about transfer.”
  • Also in May 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens would “have to find a new Arab entity” in which to live beyond Israel’s borders. “They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost,” he said.
  • In May 2006, Lieberman called for the killing of Arab members of Knesset who meet with members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
  • Lieberman championed a recent bill adopted by Israel’s Cabinet that raises the minimum a party must achieve to enter Knesset from 2 percent to 10 percent. This would eliminate parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, whose combined strength has never reached 10 percent.

    Recently you sent us a reply letter in which, among other things, you wrote, “…The United States must stand by Israel as she defends herself. No government can stand idly by when its citizens and soldiers are attacked and abducted and when terrorist groups make incursions into its territory…” Applying your own standards of justice and decency, we think that in the matter of Avigdor Lieberman the United States must stand with the Palestinians — in both Israel proper and the Occupied Territories - as they are threatened with loss of life, liberty, dignity and land.

    As the tragic events on the ground always overtake even our most humanitarian concerns, our vision is to work cooperatively with leaders like you to ensure that our domestic and foreign policies truly reflect concerns for human rights and basic human needs. A meeting of any kind with Avigdor Lieberman would convey a legitimacy on him and his positions that would in fact harm, not advance, the cause of justice, peace and freedom. We do not imagine that you would agree to meet with any European racist or fascist politician; please protect and project the most fundamental interests of the United States of America by refusing to meet with Avigdor Lieberman.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter. The favor of your reply is requested.

    Sincerely yours,

    Howard Horowitz
    President, WESPAC Foundation
    Member, Middle East Committee

    Andrew Courtney
    Board of Directors
    Member, WESPAC Middle East Committee

    WESPAC Foundation has been the leading force in Westchester County for peace and justice work for over three decades. WESPAC Foundation provides outreach and community to individuals, groups and leaders in civic and religious organizations in greater Westchester who find themselves without a voice or support system for their progressive positions. WESPAC Foundation’s purpose is to give a human face to those who would otherwise be unrecognized victims of war, injustice and environmental degradation. WESPAC Foundation connects the people of Westchester with a progressive agenda for the planet and its peoples.

    Related Links

  • WESPAC Foundation
  • Lieberman: Vocalizing Israel’s Apartheid Reality, Saree Makdisi (15 November 2006)
  • BY TOPIC: Avigdor Lieberman