Liberman accuses PM of ‘pogrom’ against Foreign Ministry

The ex-FM charged that recent decisions to close embassies is several countries "raises questions about the judgment of the person who is now making decisions in the Foreign Ministry.

August 8, 2015 22:28
3 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Former foreign minister MK Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of making the Foreign Ministry powerless and endangering Israel’s nation security on Saturday

On Tuesday, at Liberman’s behest, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will hold a meeting to discuss the Foreign Ministry’s current situation.

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“There is no need to describe the ‘pogrom’ the prime minister did to the foreign ministry in recent months,” Liberman wrote on Facebook. “One action after another weakened it, dispersed and decentralized the foreign ministry, making it a powerless body lacking influence.”

The Yisrael Beytenu chairman pointed out that seven Israeli embassies and consulates around the world are slated to be closed, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco, and said that in light of the government’s current battle for American public opinion – “which makes it hard for American Jews to support the Israeli stance” – this decision seems to be made due to irrelevant interests.

Liberman, who turned down an offer of a third term as foreign minister to be in the opposition, also said the embassy in Cameroon will be closed just as the country grew closer to Israel and ahead of votes in the UN in which every vote counts, which “raises questions about the judgment of the person who is now making decisions in the Foreign Ministry.”

This September is full of diplomatic challenges, he said. One is an IAEA conference in which there will be a vote on the Egyptian proposal to supervise Israeli nuclear sites. In the past, Liberman recounted, Israel thwarted such initiatives through hard work in advance in cooperation with the US and countries in Africa, Asia and the Former Soviet Union.

“If the dismantled Foreign Ministry can’t do similar work this year and the anti-Israel decision is accepted, it will have severe and far-reaching ramifications for Israeli security, which cannot be detailed here,” he added.

At the end of September, Liberman pointed out, is the UN General Assembly, during which resolutions by New Zealand, France and the Palestinians to force difficult parameters for the establishment of a Palestinian state, as well as full Palestinian membership in the UN are likely to be brought to a vote. The former foreign minister warned of a danger that the US won’t use its veto power.

“The prime minister’s ‘pogrom’ is not only a problem for Foreign Ministry workers; rather it harms our national security and our ability to defend ourselves in the international arena,” he concluded.

A Foreign Ministry source said that “there was no reason to open an unnecessary consulate in Minsk, which was opened, oddly enough, when Liberman was foreign minister, just like there was no reason to accede to his demand to open a consulate in the Ural Mountains.

“The money that will be saved will be used to reinforce our representation in important places like China, India and Brazil,” the source added.

Liberman’s office said it is sure that the Foreign Ministry source’s message came from the Prime Minister’s Office and that all Foreign Ministry officials agree with Liberman.

“Minsk is a central destination for the heads of leading European countries, including France and Germany,” his spokesman said. “Albania, in whose capital Tirana an Israeli embassy was opened due to Liberman’s initiative, is the only Muslim country in the world that abstained from a vote on recognizing a Palestinian state in the UN and voted with Israel in other international forums.

“When these are the answers to Liberman’s arguments, it only shows how right the arguments are and the difficult situation to which the prime minister has brought the Foreign Ministry,” he added.

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