Lieberman slams Nadav Tamir's cable on US-Israel ties; in ministry, many now afraid to express dissent.
By HERB KEINON
The brouhaha over Boston consul-general Nadav Tamir's cable criticizing the government refuses to die, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman telling the ministry's directorate on Monday that if someone has a problem with Israel's policies, he should resign, not slander the government.
In every democratic government, there is a clear separation between the political-diplomatic and professional-diplomatic echelons. The political-diplomatic echelon determines policy, he said, and the professional echelon carries it out.
Tamir belongs to the professional echelon, Lieberman said, and as such, it was not his job to express his political opinions or criticize the political-diplomatic echelon.
Lieberman said it was clear from the wide distribution of the memo that it was intended to be leaked to the press, and that had Tamir gone quietly to him or to the director-general and expressed the same views he had put in the memo, there would be no issue.
"But if someone cannot live with the policy of the government, the way to go about it is not to slander the government and leak it to the press, but to resign. That is what I expect of everyone in the professional echelon," he said.
Lieberman's comments came at a meeting of the ministry's top staff, and - according to officials in the ministry - no one responded.
Tamir, who wrote a cable saying that the current contentious relationship with the Obama administration was eroding Israel's public support among the American public and harming its strategic ties with the US, has been summoned to a meeting with director-general Yossi Gal.
He will be asked why he wrote what he did without bringing substantiating evidence, Foreign Ministry sources told The Jerusalem Post. He will also be asked why he distributed the memo so widely.
The officials said it was unlikely that Gal, a veteran and widely respected diplomat, would recommend dismissing Tamir over the issue.
One senior ministry source said there was wide backing for Tamir in the ministry, with many concerned that a precedent was being set that would deter other staffers from openly speaking their minds.
At the same time, the sources said there were many in the ministry who agreed that it would have been better if either the cable had not been written - because of a feeling that it did not reflect wider US opinion, but only what was happening in Boston - or, if written, that it had been sent more discreetly and to a much more limited number of people.
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