Analysis: The bouncer’s behest

Liberman returns to his old role as a bouncer to decide who is worthy and who isn't for the Yisrael Beytenu list.

Liberman Yisrael Beytenu press con 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Liberman Yisrael Beytenu press con 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman famously once worked as a bouncer in a night club.
He returned to those days Tuesday night when he decided that former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s son Yair is worthy of being in the club of Yisrael Beytenu Knesset members but Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, MK Anastasia Michaeli and his own deputy in the Foreign Ministry, Danny Ayalon, are not.
Bouncers sometimes tell people politely that they cannot come in, and sometimes they settle for a sneer.
Liberman allowed Meseznikov, his political ally over the past 14 years, to leave with grace. He let him know he would not be on the party’s Knesset list Monday night, giving him time to make up a story about wanting to pursue opportunities outside politics.
Click for full JPost coverageClick for full JPost coverage
Ayalon, who used his diplomatic pedigree to explain Liberman to skeptical leaders around the world for four years, apparently only found out he would not continue in the Knesset from a report on television.
Regardless of whether Liberman made the decision because Ayalon made Israel look bad by choreographing a scolding session with the Turkish ambassador or because of some other reason, Liberman’s handling of the situation was clearly undiplomatic. He did not even bother giving Ayalon a low chair. He left him without any chair at all.
Speaking of chairs, Ayalon was not the only MK Liberman mistreated Tuesday night. The candidates sat in the front row of a Yisrael Beytenu rally at a Jerusalem hotel. In the middle, right in front of where Liberman spoke, sat MK Moshe Matalon in his wheelchair.
Liberman looked Matalon right in the eye and gave him an unrealistic slot on the party’s candidates list. That decision would not be that big a deal under normal circumstances.
Matalon did not do much to distinguish himself as an MK. But Tuesday was not just another day. It was the United Nations International Day to honor People with Disabilities, as Liberman himself noted on his Facebook page.
Liberman’s handling of the situation shows that although he has risen from the door of the club to palaces and prime ministers’ offices around the world, in some ways, he remains the bouncer he was back then.