Former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel’s efforts on behalf of anti-Israel activists while cynically using his status as a former senior Israeli diplomat is a stain on Israel’s foreign service, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Wednesday.
Hotovely’s comments came in response to a Yediot Aharonot report on Wednesday that quoted Liel as encouraging Breaking the Silence activists at a meeting last month to continue their efforts against Israel abroad, saying that only the type of international pressure that was once brought to bear on South Africa would get Israel to “end the occupation.”
Liel is a former ambassador to South Africa, and compared the Breaking the Silence activists to Jews who worked on behalf of Nelson Mandela to upend apartheid, often at the price of being condemned by friends and family.
Liel served as Foreign Ministry director-general from November 2000 to April 2001 in the waning months of Ehud Barak’s premiership under then-foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.
Liel told the Breaking the Silence gathering that it was easier to fight Israel at the UN and the EU, than bilaterally.
“States cannot fight [bilaterally] with Israel. Not France, not Britain, not the US, because of the consensus here, and because of the determination and willingness to pay the price. Bibi [Netanyahu] was willing to go to Congress [last March] and fight with [US President Barack] Obama, and nothing happened.
According to a secret tape of the meeting, Liel described a scenario whereby Israel could eventually get kicked out of the UN, as South Africa once was.
“Every article of yours, every meeting with politicians can reach the public, and reach some head of state who will give directions on whether to vote for or against,” he said, adding that he did not see another way to move Israel, since “the political system is lost.”
He claimed that Breaking the Silence has the support of 2 percent of the population who are “the most moral, wisest people who are able to see 20 years forward, and were not brainwashed by right-wing messianic propaganda.”
Liel in the past lobbied Brazil against accepting former settlement leader Dani Dayan as Israel’s ambassador, and has worked toward getting parliaments in Europe to recognize a Palestinian state.
Hotovely said that Liel “forgot his obligation to the country, and – to our regret – has turned into an active helper for forces who want to harm Israel.”
She said his “active efforts in the ranks of those who want to boycott Israel, and his efforts in the diplomatic arena while cynically using his status as a former diplomat, stains the Israeli foreign service and works in the ranks of the Israel-haters.”