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Christian Church Leaders Charged With ‘Horrific Crimes Against Children’

Horrific crimes against children: Leaders of a militant Christian church in New Mexico are under arrest for abusing and raping children.

According to reports, charges against leaders of the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps include over 100 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and multiple charges of child abuse.

KOAT reports:

The Cibola County Sheriff’s Office says deputies arrested Deborah Green, Peter Green, Joshua Green, and Stacey Miller of the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps Sunday morning. According to the group’s website, Deborah and her husband James are the “Generals” and command their army to spread Christian ideals throughout the world. They’re based out of Fence Lake in western Cibola County.

Vice reports on the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps:

The Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps (ACMTC) of Fence Lake is an isolated, militaristic religious organization. In 1981, Deborah and James Green formed the group in Sacramento, California. Previously, they have been accused of familiar cult-like tactics of controlling member’s finances, limiting contact with the outside world, and isolating members without proper food, water, or hygiene. Since their inception, they’ve been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

The Associated Press reports on the charges:

Sect co-leader Deborah Green was arrested on charges that included failure to report a birth, child abuse and sexual penetration of a minor.

Peter Green, also known as Mike Brandon, faces 100 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child on suspicion of raping a girl “at least four times a week” from the time she was 7, according to court documents.

Joshua Green, the son of sect founders Deborah and James Green, was charged with failure to report a birth.

Stacey Miller faces one count each of intentional abuse of a child age 12 to 18, bribery of a witness and not reporting a birth.

On their website, the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps claims the charges are “totally false.”

Earlier today Cibola County Magistrate Court Judge Larry Dia ordered that the group’s leader Peter Green be held on $5 million secured bond, and co-leader Deborah Green be held on a $500,000 secured bond, according to a report via ABC.

Christian Church Leaders Charged With ‘Horrific Crimes Against Children’ (Image via YouTube)
Christian Church Leaders Charged With ‘Horrific Crimes Against Children’ (Image via YouTube)

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Yes, about those much flaunted, irrevocable, unchangeable and immutable Christian “morals.”

Funny but? They don’t stay that immutable, but melt like wax, when it suits their own self-interests!

Finding Those Slippery Biblical Loopholes!



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“I don’t hope to reform angry bigots. Like the world that produced it, bigotry is complex.” (Getty Images)
Have you found yourself facing a lot of Islamophobic sentiment online these days? So has Helen Razer

By Helen Razer


Apparently, the world is headed at high speed to hell in a handcart stuffed with cash, fossil fuel and bombs. I have no notion what to do about this complex mess. I believe that anyone who says that they do know what to do about this complex mess is fairly deluded. I don’t think the answer is prayer, compassion or reason. And I certainly don’t believe the answer is despising Islam.

Despising Islam is currently a fairly popular hobby. It’s a bit like Pokémon GO for people who haven’t got the hang of their smartphones yet. Or, it’s part of a long tradition of falsely finding a single cause for all the bad stuff in the world.

At various times in western history, we have blamed Jews, women, the devil, indigenous peoples and everyone not in the west for things, like poverty, that are our own stupid fault.  Choose your victim, history. Gotta Catch Em All.

I don’t hope to reform angry bigots. Like the world that produced it, bigotry is complex. But, like the angry bigots, I too have moments of totally stupid simplicity. Every so often, I find myself arguing with angry bigots. I don’t do this with any hope of fixing angry bigots. I do it because making them feel bad feels good to me.

I too have moments of totally stupid simplicity. Every so often, I find myself arguing with angry bigots.

Yes. I know. This is not very noble. But, short of acquiring a PhD in international relations and political economy, redistributing all the world’s resources and wealth and convincing the UN it is a bunch of arse, that’s all I’ve got. Making myself feel better.

In an effort to make you feel better, I offer you an abstract of recent Facebook arguments with anti-Islam bigots. I will offer you a common argument, and then my response.

Oh. I should say that these are not intended for use by persons of the Islamic faith, who have had a lot of practice defending themselves. I do not presume to speak for Muslims. I am speaking only for shitty middle-aged white atheist ladies who enjoy being mean to idiots.

Islam makes women dress differently from men! Stop Islam!

Almost without exception, every society and culture and religion has different wardrobe conventions for women and men. Have you recently visited Australia? Just as an Australian man who dresses in a way that is perceived as too “effeminate” faces censure, a woman who fails to look sufficiently “feminine” will cop it.

Also, I am blocking you.

Islam has Sharia Law! The Quran is full of punishment!

Religious law is not peculiar to Islam. Have you heard of the canon law of the Catholic Church? Did you know about Judaism’s Halakha? Even those “non-violent” Jains Sam Harris told you about have codes, one of them being what we in the west would call suicide.

Look, fella. I believe in the usefulness of religious decree about as much as I believe you could find my clitoris with a torch and Google Maps. But, the thing is, people of all religions sometimes ask their clerics for rulings. Yes, it’s odd. No, unless it results in measurable harm to a person, it doesn’t harm your society or you.

The matter of religious law affecting state governance is, of course, another problem and, again, hardly peculiar to Islamic nations. And, the matter of extreme interpretation or misuse of religious texts is hardly just a Muslim thing, is it? Mussolini was pretty cosy with Mother Church. Just a few years back, Serbian priests blessed the forces that massacred and raped, whoops, Muslims. Like all institutions, and all texts, religion can get screwed up, especially in times of conflict.

Also, have you ever spent any time at all with the Old Testament? Swearing at your parents is a crime that demands your death (Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9). So too, for men, not being circumcised (Genesis 17:14), having sex with a menstruating lady (Leviticus 20:18) or with another bloke (Leviticus 20:13).  Oddly, beating the life out of one of your slaves gets a free pass.

Also, I am blocking you.

Muslims Bomb People! Including Children!

The targeted death of all persons, especially children and civilians, is abhorrent. Again, this is not a Muslim specialty. We will never know the number of non-combatants killed by drone strike. We may never know the civilian toll of the Iraq war and the cruel sanctions that preceded it.

What we do know, especially following the Chilcot Report, is that the ongoing conflict between apparently Muslim forces and apparently democratic ones is often irrational, always horrific and very difficult to get one’s head around, as the best minds in foreign policy will tell you.

But, you know. You go Glen Coco. Blame The Muslims.

Also, I am blocking you.

Why Can’t Muslim Middle Eastern States Be More Reasonable, Like That Nice Place, Israel, Which Never Brings Religion Into Anything?

You mean, the same Israel that just appointed as the chief morale-booster to its defence forces a guy that says it’s technically okay to rape Arab women during combat? Or, do you mean another Israel?

Here’s a link. Here’s another one. They are from Israeli press. You will find that many Israeli and Jewish people are just as disgusted with the appointments of persons like Rabbi Eyal Karim as Muslim people are with the self-appointment of douche-lords from Islamic State.

Which brings us to your next question, before I start blocking you,

Why Don’t Muslim People Ever Condemned the Actions of Others?

They do. All the time. Including the Australian Grand Mufti who said, after the Paris attacks last year, “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims … at this time of unspeakable horror”.

A Muslim could tattoo France’s tricoleur one on cheek, “sorry” on the other and all the Quranic passages that counteract all the other Quranic passages which recommend battle. You’d not see it. Just like I’m no longer seeing you because YOU ARE BLOCKED.

Right. I figure these may save you some time. If you think any of the arguments are useful, don’t feel bad about cutting-and-pasting them from Helen. You will find that the bigots just cut-and-paste from the One Nation website—or, if they are a bit posh, the worst writing of Christopher Hitchens.

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League of the South president says Trump’s presidency will bring ‘no mercy to Jews and minorities’

ISLAM: the Christian Heresy


Depiction of Muhammad in hell for the sin of heresy.

“It was the great Catholic world on the frontiers of which he lived, whose influence was all around him and whose territories he had known by travel which inspired his [Mohammed’s] convictions.”

Today the West often views Islam as a civilisation very different from and indeed innately hostile to Christianity. Only when you travel in Christianity’s Eastern homelands do you realise how closely the two are really connected, the former growing directly out of the latter and still, to this day, embodying many aspects and practices of the early Christian world now lost in Christianity’s modern Western-based incarnation. When the early Byzantines were first confronted by the Prophet’s armies, they assumed that Islam was merely an heretical form of Christianity, and in many ways they were not so far wrong: Islam accepts much of the Old and New Testaments and venerates both Jesus and the ancient Jewish prophets.

Significantly, the greatest and most subtle theologian of the early church, St. John Damascene, was convinced that Islam was at root not a separate religion, but instead a form of Christianity. St. John had grown up in the Ummayad Arab court of Damascus, where his father was chancellor, and he was an intimate boyhood friend of the future Caliph al-Yazid; the two boys’ drinking bouts in the streets of Damascus were the subject of much horrified gossip in the streets of the new Islamic capital. Later, in his old age, John took the habit at the desert monastery of Mar Saba where he began work on his great masterpiece, a refutation of heresies entitled the Fount of Knowledge. The book contains an extremely precise and detailed critique of Islam, the first ever written by a Christian, which, intriguingly, John regarded as a form of Christian heresy related to Arianism: after all Arianism, like Islam, denied the divinity of Christ. Although he lived at the very hub of the early Islamic world, it never seems to have occurred to him that Islam might be a separate religion. If a theologian of the stature of John Damascene was able to regard Islam as a new- if heretical- form of Christianity, it helps to explain how Islam was able to convert so much of the Middle Eastern population in so short a time, even though Christianity remained the majority religion until the time of the Crusades.



The longer you spend in the Christian communities of the Middle East, the more you become aware of the extent to which Eastern Christian practice formed the template for what were to become the basic conventions of Islam. The Muslim form of prayer with its bowings and prostrations appears to derive from the older Syrian Orthodox tradition that is still practised in pewless churches across the Levant. The architecture of the earliest minarets, which are square rather than round, unmistakably derive from the church towers of Byzantine Syria. The Sufi Muslim tradition carried on directly from the point that the Christian Desert Fathers left off while Ramadan, at first sight one of the most foreign and alienating of Islamic practices, is in fact nothing more than an Islamicisation of Lent, which in the Eastern Christian churches still involves a gruelling all-day fast.

— Taken from The Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East, by William Dalrymple


As shown by the artwork above, the Middle Ages also viewed Islam has a heresy. In Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXVIII, Muhammad is depicted as “twixt the legs, Dangling his entrails hung, the midriff lay Open to view…” Muhammad suffers the punishment of the schismatics: having his body rent from chin to anus for how he rent the Body of Christ.


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Interview with French extremism researcher Olivier Roy

″Radicalisation is not the result of failed integration″

After the attacks in Brussels, Olivier Roy cautions against rashly linking Islam with terrorism. In interview with Michaela Wiegel, the Islam researcher explains the real problem with jihadism

Mr. Roy, do you see a connection between terrorism and failed integration in European immigration societies?

Olivier Roy: I don’t think that Islamic radicalisation is the result of a failure to integrate. That’s only a pseudo-problem. Many of the young people who take up the banner of jihad are well integrated. They speak French, English and German. Islamic State (IS) has established a French-speaking battalion precisely because the young French and Belgians hardly speak any Arabic. The problem is not a lack of cultural integration. Even as they break with their society, the European jihadists remain dedicated to a very Western model. It is nihilistic, which is not at all in accordance with Islamic tradition. They have in many cases developed a fascination with the aesthetics of violence they know from movies and videos. In this sense, they are more like the students who ran amok in Columbine High School or the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

So immigration and jihadism have nothing to do with each other?

Roy: For me, the high percentage of converts is a very interesting indicator. Nowhere else in Muslim culture is there another organisation like the IS with its 25 percent converts. So cultural explanations alone are not enough to establish what makes IS so attractive. What′s more, young people without an immigrant heritage are also drawn to the idea of jihad.

How then do you explain the terrorists′ invocation of Islam?

Roy: I am not denying that there is a religious dimension. It is important, because it means the jihadists can reinterpret their nihilism as a promise of paradise. Their suicide becomes a guarantee for eternal life. I only want to emphasise that these young people do not come from the Muslim community. Most of them have no religious education and have rarely visited a mosque. Nearly all were previously petty criminals. They would drink alcohol and take drugs.

Symbolic image of jihadists (photo: Colourbox/krbfss)

Fascinated by the aesthetics of violence: ” Even as they break with their society, the European jihadists remain dedicated to a very Western model. It is nihilistic, which is not at all in accordance with Islamic tradition. They have in many cases developed a fascination with the aesthetics of violence they know from movies and videos. In this sense, they are more like the students who ran amok in Columbine High School or the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik”, asserts Roy


What role is played by Europe‘s colonial past?

Roy: The left wing’s post-colonial vision is inadequate. In my opinion, Islamist radicalisation can neither be attributed to current foreign policy nor to colonial crimes. These young radicals never talk about the war in Algeria, even if that is where their grandfathers came from. They usually don’t even know anything about it.

Why do so many siblings commit to jihad?

Roy: These are young people who want to make a radical break with their parents’ generation. Their parents have not inculcated them with Islamic culture. By going radical, they view themselves as better Muslims than their parents. Parents in Europe condemn their children for joining the jihad, unlike Palestinian parents, who usually approve of the violent acts perpetrated by their offspring. European parents say: I don’t understand what motivates my daughter or my son. A new conflict between generations is being fought out here. This also explains why it is so often siblings, brothers in most cases, who break away together from their parents. The IS fighters are members of the same generation, siblings or childhood friends.

So, in your view, the terrorists are the result of a particularly vehement generational conflict?

Roy: Most jihadists are “born again”; with radical Islam, they get a new lease of life. That’s why there are so few jihadists who are part of the first generation of immigrants. That generation still grew up in the traditional Islamic faith. It was not until the second generation of immigrants that a break with the past occurred, because the passing down of religious beliefs stopped working. Most terrorists belong to the second generation of immigrants.

Act of collective mourning led by Belgian Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois in Brussels following the attacks (photo: picture-alliance/dap/A. Belot)

Grief and sorrow following the terror attacks in Brussels: 32 people died during the suicide bombings carried out by Islamist terrorists last Tuesday, while 100 of the injured still remain in hospital

So you agree with Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who is against holding a debate on the breeding ground for terrorism?

Roy: No, on the contrary: I want to contribute to the debate on the breeding ground for terrorism. Valls is currently courting populism; he has moved away from the left and become more authoritarian and anti-intellectual. The breeding ground for terrorism has to be researched. To my surprise, I find myself increasingly working with psychologists and psychoanalysts. Risk-taking behaviour among young people has soared, accompanied by a fascination with suicide and violence. We have to devote more attention to this dimension.

Do you think this is a common phenomenon among young people?

Roy: Yes. In Italy, for example, two young people just murdered one of their peer group. When apprehended, the only justification they could give for their act was that they wanted to experience what it feels like to kill. The press has called them crazy. But if the young people had screamed “Allahu Akbar” before the deed, they would be perceived as terrorists.

Your compatriot the Islam researcher Gilles Kepel accuses you of downplaying the Islamic dimension of terrorism.

Roy: The fact that he’s upset is a good sign – it means he is trying to come to terms with my theses. He doesn’t like me pointing out the psychological dimension. In my opinion, though, we urgently need to take a multidisciplinary approach when tackling the phenomenon of Islamist radicalisation.


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Interview by Michaela Wiegel

© Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 2016

Translated from the German by Jennifer Taylor

With New Defence Minister, Israel Pivots Further Towards Open Racism


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By the time you read this, Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the right-wing Israeli party Yisrael Beiteinu, may be Israel’s new Defence Minister. In this article, I want to set out who he is, who he will replace, the context, and the significance of Lieberman’s rise.

They Can Take Their Bundles And Get Lost: Liebermanism

Lieberman led an election campaign in 2009 with the slogan “no loyalty no citizenship”. He frankly advocated revoking citizenship for the “disloyal”, and even a “right of expulsion”. It was understood that this referred to Israeli Arabs. Lieberman is frankly opposed to liberal values. He has explained that when Zionism and democracy clash, “the Jewish and Zionist values are more important”. He has also advocated, in the context of a two-state agreement, transferring parts of Israel with large Palestinian populations out of Israel, and into the Palestinian state. This would strip those people of Israeli citizenship, effectively disfranchising them and transferring them into another country.

Veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar reported that Lieberman offers even more extremism to his supporters when speaking in Russian. In 2004, Lieberman said to the local weekly Tel Aviv – “essentially, that it is necessary to transfer 90 per cent of Israel’s Arabs to the territories, including residents of Acre, Jaffa and Sakhnin.” The less extreme version of Lieberman said, “They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost.”

Lieberman thought the way to achieve a “real victory” in the attack on Gaza in 2008-2009 was by treating the Palestinians like the Japanese were treated “in the last days of World War II”. He also threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam in Egypt in 2001. This would have killed millions.

Reports in Ha’aretz suggest that he used to belong to Kach. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it was a theocratic terrorist organisation, led by the eventually assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane. Scholar of Israeli extremists Ehud Sprinzak wrote that a “typical speech” by Kahane included warnings that the “Arabs are cancer, cancer, cancer in the midst of us”. If Kahane were allowed two months as defence minister, “you will not have a single cockroach around here! I promise you a clean Eretz Yisrael”.

In more recent years, Lieberman and his party have pushed a raft of anti-democratic legislation within Israel. Last year, he said that Arabs “who are against us, there’s nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off his head”. During the war on Gaza in 2014, he urged a boycott on Arab businesses striking against the war. More recently, he has supported the Israeli soldier who murdered an unarmed Palestinian lying on the ground.

How Lieberman Got The Gig
new matilda, lieberman
Lieberman delivers a speech. (IMAGE: Wikipedia).

Moshe Ya’alon is the Defence Minister who resigned, paving the way for Lieberman. After the Israeli soldier murdered an unarmed and injured Palestinian, it was clear that the public was on the murderer’s side. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu briefly condemned the murder, before changing his position to suit public opinion. Ya’alon did not, which Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer described as political suicide.

On May 4, another controversy arose on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the deputy chief of the Israeli army, Major General Yair Golan, compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying there were “signs of them here among us today”. Netanyahu rebuked Golan, as did most of Israel’s right-wingers. Then Ya’alon, speaking to Israeli army officers, urged them to speak their minds, and to be “brave not just in the battle field, but also at the discussion table.” Even if they weren’t part of the mainstream, even if it differed from “political leadership”. Shortly afterwards, Netanyahu summoned Ya’alon to a meeting. It was claimed that the purpose was to clear the air, and he certainly had no intention to relieve Ya’alon of his position as Defence Minister. Naturally, it was only a few days before Netanyahu dumped Ya’alon and offered the position to Lieberman.

Ya’alon: The Moderate Who Called Palestinians A Cancer

Since being dumped as Defence Minister, Ya’alon has sought to reinvent himself as a principled opponent of extremism and racism, who has struggled to defend decency. He wrote on Facebook that “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and also trickling into the IDF, hurting it already”. He said “to my great sorrow, extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud Party and are shaking the foundations and threatening to hurt its residents. Sadly, senior politicians in the country have chosen the way of incitement and segregation of parts of Israeli society instead of unifying it and bringing it together.”

As the great Israeli journalist Gideon Levy observed, Ya’alon “was IDF chief of staff during the Defensive Shield offensive in the West Bank in 2002 and for Operation Days of Penitence in Gaza in 2004, operations that sowed horrifying death and destruction. Perhaps it was then that the bestialization of the IDF began.” Ya’alon was also the Defence Minister during the last war on Gaza, killing over 2000 Palestinians, including over 500 children. Even the pathetic whitewash of a UN report noticed the tactics may not have been totally moral, commenting on “the razing of entire areas of these localities by artillery fire, air strikes and bulldozers”.

Ya’alon has also lashed out against human rights organisations and progressive NGOs. Breaking the Silence is a courageous organisation that publishes collections of testimonies from Israeli soldiers about what they do in the occupied territories. Ya’alon said they have “malicious motives” and banned them from events with the Israeli army. A few months ago, Ya’alon accused them of treason. Later he slightly qualified this claim, saying “We are looking into the matter.” This wasn’t glib rhetoric – he actually did order an investigation.

In 2002, Ya’alon compared the Palestinians in the occupied territories to cancer, and claimed he was merely “applying chemotherapy”. In the years leading up to 2008, Ya’alon worked at right wing think tanks, “emerging as one of the most forceful critics of two-state-solution orthodoxy,” according to Ha’aretz.

Back in 2009, Ya’alon called Peace Now a “virus”. This caused some controversy, but the context makes it worse. He said to “save the country… we must deal with the issue of the virus that is Peace Now and, if you will, the elites, their damage is very great. From my point of view Jews should live in every part of the Land of Israel forever.” That is, continue colonising the West Bank, and oppress the Palestinians forever. His comments were made at a meeting of the Jewish Leadership Movement, the Feiglin movement within Likud.

While Ya’alon now weeps crocodile tears over extremists taking over Likud, Moshe Feiglin is no less extreme than Lieberman. Feiglin referred to the Palestinians as “inferior” and “parasites”, positively agreed that Zionism is racist, and even found much to admire in Hitler and Nazism. In 2014, he called for concentration camps in Gaza, after using “maximum firepower”, cutting off their water and electricity, and giving a “generous economic support package” to Gazans to leave to other countries.

new matilda, lieberman
A poster in Tel Aviv (IMAGE: Yaffa Phillips, Flickr)
Lieberman In Context

Much of the political outcry in Israel about Lieberman’s rise by mainstream political figures is about as credible, with war criminals like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak rushing to call Lieberman’s appointment a sign of fascism. Most of the Israeli political mainstream is infected with racism and war crimes. Lieberman is only unusual for being more overtly racist, and having less blood on his hands due to having less power.

For example, Ehud Barak was Defence Minister of Israel during the first massive attack on Gaza in 2008-2009. He was the Prime Minister who destroyed the viability of the Israeli Zionist left by saying there was no partner for peace after the Camp David debacle in 2000. He followed this up with his response to the Second Intifada – firing a million bullets within a month. In an interview with historian Benny Morris, he explained frankly that Palestinians can’t be trusted because “They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category.” Sophisticated racism like that is even fit for American liberals in the New York Review of Books.

Tzipi Livni, regarded as a dovish centrist, stated plainly in negotiations with the Palestinians that “I am against law – international law in particular.” Livni also repeatedly suggested in negotiations that Palestinian villages within Israel be transferred to a Palestinian state, thus embracing the Lieberman plan. She bragged that Israel “displayed real hooliganism” during the attack on Gaza in 2008-9: “which I demanded”. The point of the attack was that it “restored Israel’s deterrence … Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”

Overt racism among Israeli political officials is by now almost standard. Israel’s Minister for Culture referred to Sudanese people in Israel as a “cancer”. Israel’s Justice Minister posted an article referring to Palestinian children as “little snakes”, advising that their mothers be killed to prevent the raising of more “little snakes”. Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister, in charge of the Civil Administration of the occupied territories, said that the Palestinians “are beasts… not human”, and that Jews have “a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” The Education Minister said to a Palestinian MK “When you were still climbing trees, we had a Jewish state here”. And “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

The Significance Of Lieberman’s Rise

In a military-obsessed country, Lieberman’s lack of military experience has often been counted against him. As Defence Minister, Lieberman will probably get the chance to put his own stamp on the next Gaza massacre. While he has often attacked the government from the right for being too soft on Palestinians, in power he will have to trade demagogy for policy. If he believes his own rhetoric and tries to implement it, disaster looms for the Palestinians, and even for Israel. However, if Lieberman serves as Defence Minister with some prudence, and doesn’t show any obvious signs of incompetence, he could put himself in a strong position to become Prime Minister.

Seven years ago, I observed that the political mainstream could have marginalised Lieberman into irrelevance in the 2009 election. It didn’t happen. On the left, Barak criticised him for lack of military experience – he was only “big on words, not on action”. The lack of meaningful opposition to Lieberman’s authoritarianism and racism helped legitimise him. Liebermanism has meant the dismantling of vestiges of liberalism for Jews in Israel, and the use of overtly racist rhetoric. Since then, both have become standard. Every election has included political competitions to appear tough on Arabs and Israeli leftists, and most major parties have supported his legislative agenda, and even embraced it as their own. Lieberman as Defence Minister isn’t a shocking development, but a logical culmination of where Israel has been heading for years.


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