Tzipi Livni at ICT conference.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, including his support for isolated West Bank settlements, has helped delegitimize Israel in the international arena, said Tzipi Livni, who co-leads the Zionist Union party.
“The Israeli public has been brainwashed into believing that its global isolation stems from delegitimization and anti-Semitism,” Livni said.
One has to distinguish between criticism of Netanyahu for his support of isolated West Bank settlements and the delegitimization of the Jewish right to a homeland in Israel.
“When we distinguish between Israel’s right to defend itself and settlements, then we legitimize its security needs; when we distinguish between isolated settlements and the blocs, then we legitimize the settlement blocs,” she said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has recognized and exploited Netanyahu’s failure in the international arena to help further Israel’s isolation, she said.
Netanyahu has made the problem even worse by merging his identity with that of the state, and has portrayed critics as the enemy of the state, as if he were a monarch.
According to Netanyahu, “if Israel is me and my policy is the state, then we can not criticize my policy, and who ever criticizes me is anti-Zionist,” Livni said.
He has fined-tuned this message so that it is almost as if those who criticize him are cooperating with Islamic State, she said in reference to a video the Likud Party produced, in which it subtly warned that a leftwing government would lead to Islamists in Jerusalem.
Livni charged that Netanyahu had made the same mistake with Iran by agreeing to address a joint session of Congress against the wishes of US President Barack Obama.
Now everyone is discussing whether the prime minister should be coming to the US or not and which legislators would attend his speech rather then focusing on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, she said.